Beverly Hills Identity Theft
In recent years, there has been an upswing in the number of identity theft cases originating out of the Beverly Hills area. In fact, this offense is charged with greater frequency by prosecutors and is considered one of the fastest growing white collar crimes in Beverly Hills. Law enforcement agencies are especially vigilant for identity theft schemes and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office assigns dedicated prosecutors in specialized units to handle these types of cases. Identity theft crimes can receive significant media exposure and stiff sentences are handed down to those convicted of these offenses.
Broadly defined as the nonconsensual use of someone else’s personal identifying information for a fraudulent purpose, identity theft is illegal under California Penal Code Section 530.5 PC.
The identity theft statute covers many diverse activities, which can range from crude attempts to open up credit in someone else’s name to intricate networks using technology to steal names, social security numbers, passwords and other confidential information from unsuspecting victims.
California Penal Code Section 530.5 PC specifies four different varieties of identity theft offenses available to prosecutors for criminal charging:
- California Penal Code Section 530.5(a) PC – This occurs when the defendant uses the personal identifying information of someone else in order to commit fraud.
- California Penal Code Section 530.5(c) PC – This occurs when the defendant possesses the personal identifying information of someone else and intends to commit fraud.
- California Penal Code Section 530.5(d)(1) PC – This occurs when the defendant sells, transfers or otherwise conveys the personal identifying information of someone else and does so with fraudulent intent.
- California Penal Code Section 530.5(d)(2) PC – This occurs when the defendant sells, transfers or conveys the personal identifying information of someone else so that it can be used without the authority of that other person.
Personal identifying information can include a host of different data, including names, addresses, passwords, PIN codes, account numbers and social security numbers. A typical identity theft case may involve several uses of numerous different items considered to be personal identifying information. Under the law, a prosecutor is allowed to charge a defendant with separate counts for every time he or she used someone else’s information, which can potentially expose a defendant to extensive penalties.
Under the law, identity theft is what is called a “wobbler” offense. This means that when filing the criminal case, the prosecutor can elect to file either felony or misdemeanor level charges. A wide variety of factors would be taken into consideration on any filing decisions, including the extent of the loss, the defendant’s criminal record, the complexity of the scheme and other relevant factors.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office – Airport Branch Office would prosecute identity theft offenses arising out of the Beverly Hills area. The defendant’s case would be heard by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge at the Airport Courthouse located at 11701 South La Cienega Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90045.
A conviction for a Beverly Hills identity theft offense can result in a prison sentence of up to three years, in addition to repayment of any damages through victim restitution. A misdemeanor identity theft conviction can result in up to a year in jail, restitution to the victim, hefty court fines, required community labor and any other appropriate conditions of probation.
In many cases, an identity theft allegation may subject a defendant to Federal charges, especially in cases involving victims like banks and other financial institutions that are located throughout the country. An Assistant United States Attorney can file criminal charges pursuant to the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1988 that can carry sentences of up to 25 years in Federal prison for those convicted.
If you or a loved one are currently being investigated for a Beverly Hills identity theft offense or have already been charged criminally, it is crucial that you speak with a Beverly Hills Criminal Defense Attorney right away. Beverly Hills Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who was previously assigned to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s elite Major Fraud Division. Mr. Kraut has earned a reputation as a tough litigator who knows how to effectively defend those charged with identity theft and other white collar crimes.
For more information about Beverly Hills identity theft offenses, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Beverly Hills Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 8484 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 660B, Beverly Hills, CA 90211-3220. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 310-550-6935.