Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

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How seemingly innocent actions may lead to criminal charges

People make mistakes. It's a fact of life that we are taught at an early age and continue to keep in mind as we age. But as some of our more frequent readers know, sometimes it's the simple mistakes that can lead to the biggest consequences.

Take for example an individual who writes down the personal information of customers with the intent of reentering it into a company database when he has been trained on the technology. Over time though, the employee misplaces the handwritten information, which is later found by police who assume that it is evidence of intent to commit identity fraud. Could such a mistake really be construed as criminal activity?

Here in Georgia we know that such a scenario could lead to criminal charges because it is the current plight of a former car salesman in Columbus. Though he insists that possessing a notepad with personal information from former clients is because of a mistake and has pleaded not guilty to all 10 counts of identity fraud, past fraud charges could work against him as the courts try to determine the land where truth lies.

This case should illustrate for our readers in Atlanta and elsewhere the serious charges a person could face simply for making a mistake. That's because both Georgia and federal law treat crimes involving other people's identities very seriously. Prosecutors may try to make even the most innocent action, like misplacing a business notepad with client information, look like intent to commit a crime. This leaves defendants facing steep criminal charges that often include sizeable fines and lengthy prison sentences.

As you can imagine, this leaves a defendant in great need of a skilled and experienced attorney who can refute the charges and effectively present your side of the story. We try not to be judgmental in evaluating and representing our clients because we understand that people make mistakes and situations cause some to make decisions they otherwise would not. We also believe that most mistakes shouldn't destroy lives, and we fight to keep that from happening.

Source: The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, "Court: Some personal information in ID fraud case belonged to RMG customers," Sarah Robinson, May 18, 2015

Justia, "O.C.G.A. § 16-9-126," Accessed June 15, 2015

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Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

Former Federal Prosecutors

918 Ponce de Leon Avenue, N.E. Atlanta, GA 30306 Phone: 404-692-5168 Fax: 404-872-1622 Atlanta Law Office Map