Identity Theft: What You Should Know if You’ve Been Accused of Stealing Someone’s Identity

It seems like every month we’re hearing about a new data breach where millions of people’s private information is being stolen. Just such a data breach happened this January to Wawa, and it was reported that customers’ credit card information had been stolen and was being sold over the internet. This is just one of the many ways an individual’s identity can be stolen and used against them. 

State and federal lawmakers have enacted strict laws to curb cases of identity theft. In this article, we will discuss the severity of this crime and the penalties that can be passed down if a defendant is found guilty of identity theft. If you’ve been accused of identity theft, we encourage you to consult a fraud defense attorney in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm to begin the process of building a strong defense for your case. 

Florida Identity Theft Laws 

Most cases of identity theft are tried at the state level, so we’ll be focusing on Florida laws. Identity theft is discussed in Chapter 817 of the Florida Statutes. Although numerous provisions are described, the general takeaway is that “Any person who willfully and without authorization fraudulently uses, or possesses with intent to fraudulently use, personal identification information concerning another person without first obtaining that person’s consent” is committing a felony. 

Related: Credit Card Fraud: How One Swipe Can Lead to a Felony 

The severity of the crime determines the severity of the punishment. They are as follows:

  • Fraud perpetrated is $5,000 or more, or the identity of 10 or more people is stolen: minimum three-year mandatory prison sentence
  • Fraud perpetrated is $50,000 or more, or the identity of 20 or more people is stolen: minimum five-year mandatory prison sentence
  • Fraud perpetrated is $100,000 or more, or the identity of 30 or more people is stolen: minimum 10-year prison sentence. 

Chapter 817 of the Florida Statutes continues to define various identity theft laws and their respective penalties. For example, it is a second-degree felony to steal the identity of a deceased individual or dissolved business entity — a first-degree felony in some cases. And it is a third-degree felony to create or use a fictitious person’s identification information. This illustrates that Florida law is not only interested in whether or not the crime involved a victim; it’s interested in punishing those who commit identity theft in all forms. 

Related: Types of Fraud Cases 

Consult a Fraud Defense Lawyer in Tampa 

By stealing the identities of just a handful of people, a person could easily be sentenced to prison and receive a large fine. That’s why it’s so important to consult a fraud defense attorney in Tampa if you’ve been accused of identity theft. At The Rickman Law Firm, our attorneys can work to prove your innocence. We will keep you informed every step of the way and always do what is in your best interest. If you’ve been accused of identity theft, consult an experienced, aggressive attorney from The Rickman Law Firm today. 

For a free consultation with a fraud defense attorney in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm toda

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation. 


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