Identity Theft Issues

How much time would you serve for identity theft or fraud?


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The increase in crimes of identity theft lead to the drafting of the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act. In 1998, The Federal Trade Commission appeared before the United States Senate. The FTC discussed crimes which exploit consumer credit to commit loan fraud, mortgage fraud, lines-of-credit fraud, credit card fraud, commodities and services frauds. The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act (2003) [ITADA] amended U.S. Code Title 18, § 1028 ("Fraud related to activity in connection with identification documents, authentication features, and information"). The statute now makes the possession of any "means of identification" to "knowingly transfer, possess, or use without lawful authority" a federal crime, alongside unlawful possession of identification documents. However, for federal jurisdiction to prosecute, the crime must include an "identification document" that either: (a) is purportedly issued by the United States, (b) is used or intended to defraud the United States, (c) is sent through the mail, or (d) is used in a manner that affects interstate or foreign commerce. See 18 U.S.C. § 1028(c). Punishment can be up to 5, 15, 20, or 30 years in federal prison, plus fines, depending on the underlying crime per 18 U.S.C. § 1028(b). In addition, punishments for the unlawful use of a "means of identification" were strengthened in § 1028A ("Aggravated Identity Theft"), allowing for a consecutive sentence under specific enumerated felony violations as defined in § 1028A(c)(1) through .


It depends on what is involved. It can be a state and/or Federal crime. For example using a driver's license in the state I Reside is a Class "D" felony (higher depending on the circumstances). The use of someone else's or a false SS# is a Federal crime and can carry serious penalties. Recently a man was sentenced to seven years in a Federal penitentiary for using his brother's ID, SS# to get a car loan.



Falsely posing as another person is a criminal act and carries serious penalties. If you have been accused of or charged with an identity theft crime, your case may be filed as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

A misdemeanor charge is punishable by up to one year in jail. A felony is punishable by 16 months or more of state prison time. The charge and sentence will depend on the following:

  • Seriousness or degree of the victim's harm
  • Amount of monetary damage
  • The sophistication of the crime
  • Defendant's past criminal record
  • Internet theft: the Internet crosses state lines, so the theft can also be charged as a federal crime

The scariest part of all of this is sometimes the person who is the victim is actually the one who ends up in jail. Yes it is true. Many times the thieves never even get caught. Authorities come after the victim when an identity theft thief commits fraud in someone else's name. Go to to read more.