Atlanta area residents facing federal identity theft charges
Theft can be charged in various ways, and the type of theft a defendant is accused of may play a factor in how they are sentenced if convicted. Identity theft is a form of theft where one party obtains and uses another party's personal information in an attempt to achieve some kind of gain, usually monetary. Atlanta residents charged with such a crime should be aware that identity theft is a serious charge, and when the crime spans multiple states, it may become a federal case.
After a criminal investigation conducted by authorities, four Atlanta metro residents were recently indicted for allegedly participating in an identity theft ring, while another two individuals pleaded guilty to the charges. The indictment states that the primary defendant, an employee of a local Atlanta bank, would access bank customer's personal data and pass the information on to his co-conspirators, who would create fake checks using the customer information. Allegedly the group would then ask homeless people with valid government ID's to cash the checks.
It is a crime in most states, as well as at the federal level, to commit identity theft. The penalties for conviction of this crime are severe, and may include prison time as well as fines. But defenses are available. The government must prove every element of its case, including the element of intent. If the alleged victim consented to the use of the personal information, or if there was no intent to use the information for a fraudulent purpose, a dismissal of the charges or an acquittal may be possible. A vigorous defense is essential to ensure the defendant's rights are protected.