Aggravated Identity Theft
Every year, millions across the country are victimized by identity theft. The theft of one’s identity is a crime chargeable under both Federal and State law. While any variety of charges of identity theft are serious, it is crucial to retain an attorney right away if you believe federal law enforcement officers may be investigating you for aggravated identity theft, the most serious identity theft crime. You can face federal charges if you steal or use another person’s identification and then use it in connection with certain felony violations. Prosecutors take aggravated identity theft seriously and courts punish it harshly. This crime is distinct from ordinary identity theft; it involves not only stealing another’s identity but also perpetrating a separate crime. When you’re facing aggravated identity theft charges in federal court, you would be best served to take the charges seriously, and retain a firm to defend you. Tampa federal criminal defense attorney Jason Mayberry zealously defends those charged with stealing an identity in connection with a felony in Hillsborough, Hernando, Sarasota, Manatee, Pasco, or Pinellas Counties.Aggravated Identity Theft
Under the 18 U.S.C. § 1028, ordinary identity theft is criminalized; you are prohibited from using someone else’s identifying information to commit a fraud. However, 18 U.S. Code § 1028A prohibits aggravated identity theft, criminalizing identity theft with regard to specific enumerated federal crimes, including terrorism crimes. In order to secure a conviction for this crime, a federal prosecutor will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you: (1) knowingly, (2) transferred, possessed, or used, (3) without lawful authority, (4) a means of identification of another person, (5) in the perpetration of any of certain enumerated crimes. At a minimum, our lawyer may be able to defend you by raising reasonable doubt with respect to any of these elements. In other cases, depending on the facts at hand, more substantive and robust defenses may be available.
Felonies that may give rise to an aggravated identity theft charge from which our lawyer can defend you in or around Tampa include:
- Theft of rewards, property, or public money
- Theft, embezzlement or misapplication by a bank officer or employee
- Theft from employee benefit plans
- False personation of citizenship
- False statements in connection with acquiring a firearm
- Fraud and false statements
- Wire, bank, and mail fraud
- Nationality and citizenship papers
- False pretenses
- Willful failure to leave the country after deportation and creation of a counterfeit alien registration card
- Immigration offenses
- False statements related to Social Security programs and visas and passports.
You can also be convicted in connection with terrorism crimes. For instance, you could be convicted if a prosecutor were able to prove the following: (1) you acted in a way transcending national boundaries, (2) to kidnap, kill, maim, perpetrate an assault causing serious bodily injury or assaults another with a dangerous weapon, (3) while committing identity theft. Similarly, if you create a substantial risk of serious bodily injury to someone else by damaging or destroying a conveyance, structure, or other personal or real property in the country while committing identity theft, you could be convicted.Sentencing
As technology advances, now more than ever, prosecutors and courts are taking aggravated identity charges seriously in and around Tampa. If you are convicted of aggravated identity theft, you will be statutorily required to be sentenced to a mandatory term of two years in prison on top of a term of incarceration for the original felony crimes. In that case, your prison terms will be served back-to-back.
It’s important to be aware that a federal judge will not be able to put you on probation if you’re convicted of aggravated identity theft. The court does not have the ability to reduce the prison term to be imposed for a felony during which you used, possessed or transferred a false form of identity. If you are charged and convicted of multiple counts of aggravated identity theft, your sentencing judge will have the discretion to run your two year minimum mandatory prison terms for aggravated identity theft consecutively, meaning the court could stack each two year prison term on top of each other, yielding a significant sentence.Consult an Experienced Aggravated Identity Theft
If you are concerned about aggravated identity theft, you should call Tampa criminal defense attorney Jason Mayberry who may be able to defend you if you are charged with a federal crime arising from conduct in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Manatee, Sarasota, Hernando or Polk Counties. He is admitted to practice before the federal Middle District of Florida, federal Southern District of Florida, along with state court. Call the Mayberry Law Firm at (813) 444-7435 or complete our online form.