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What is identity theft?


If you are facing federal theft charges, it is very important to understand the nature of the charges you face. There are a number of different types of theft, including robbery, shoplifting and cyber crimes such as identity theft. Penalties vary depending on the nature of the crime, but can be serious.

When an Atlanta resident is accused of identity theft, it means they have been accused of wrongfully obtaining someone else's personal information and using that personal information to commit theft or fraud. Personal information includes names, Social Security numbers, addresses, birth dates, passport numbers, bank account numbers and even telephone numbers.

According to the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act, in order to constitute a federal crime, the accused must knowingly transfer or use someone else's personal information and have the intent to either commit or aid unlawful activity. Therefore, to convict someone of the federal crime of identity theft, both intent and knowledge must be proven by the prosecution.

Identity theft is not only a federal crime, but is also a crime under Georgia state law. This means the accused can face either state or federal charges, and even both in certain circumstances. In Georgia, a state conviction of aggravated identity fraud can result in a 15-year prison sentence plus a hefty fine.

Understanding the nature of the criminal charges you are facing is only the first step in protecting your rights. Other may include getting the assistance of an experienced defense attorney to attack the prosecution's case in order to get the charges dismissed.

Source: FBI, "Identity Theft," Accessed on Sept. 23, 2014

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