Statistics cited by the North Carolina Department of Justice show that North Carolina ranks 23rd among U.S. states for identity theft, with more than 300,000 incidents per year. Nationwide, the number of cases of identity theft rose by 13% in 2011. In the internet-dominated era in which we live, identity theft is a modern example of growth in white collar crime, and is perhaps one of the reasons that the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys has recently launched a Financial Crimes Initiative, with the goal of harmonizing and improving the approach to prosecution of white collar crimes.
What is identity theft?
Under North Carolina white collar crime laws, you commit identity theft if you intentionally obtain, possess, or use identifying information of another person in order to represent yourself as that person, with the aim of making transactions in that person’s name, for personal or financial gain.
Does this include using a relative’s credit card without permission?
The law sets out a list of 14 types of identifying information that, if used in the way described above, would constitute identity theft. Relevant examples include credit card numbers, debit card numbers and PIN codes. As a result, if you use a credit card belonging to another person, such as one of your parents, without his or her permission, in order to buy things, you could face charges of identity theft. Ordinarily, you are not likely to face charges unless the credit card owner files a complaint with the police. However, the police do have discretion to investigate identity theft, and you could still face charges even if the relative does not file a complaint.
What penalties could I face if I am convicted?
A conviction of identity theft carries a maximum prison sentence of 13 months for a first offense, as well as having to pay compensation to the victim for his or her losses. In addition, a criminal record can cause many problems in other aspects of life. For example, it may be difficult to get a job, be accepted to college, or get a mortgage.
Posted in Criminal Defense | Tagged credit card protection, criminal defense attorney, identity theft, Raleigh lawyer