What is Identity Theft?
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, approximately 8.6 million households reported at least one instance of identity theft in 2010. Identity theft cost its victims upwards of $13 billion, with the average loss per victim totaling $2,200. Detecting and preventing identity theft is a top priority for state and federal law enforcement and many lawmakers are pushing for stiffer penalties for ID theft crimes. If you’re facing state and/or federal identity theft charges in Illinois, enlisting the aid of an experienced Chicago identity theft attorney should be your top priority.
By definition, identity theft occurs when an individual uses someone else’s personal information, such as their name, social security number, banking information or credit card number, without that person’s knowledge or permission for the express purpose of fraudulent financial gain. These are serious charges and you need an experienced lawyer fighting for you.
Penalties for Identity Theft
The severity of the penalty for an identity theft crime depends on the type of act or acts involved, the damage to the victim and whether a defendant is charged with state or federal offenses. The following is a brief outline of the penalties for identity theft crimes in Illinois.
- Facilitating Identity Theft – First offense is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
- Identity Theft, Less Than $300– Cases of identity theft involving less than $300 in damages to the victim are punishable as a Class 4 felony, which carries a sentence of 1 to 3 years in state prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
- Identity Theft, $300 to $2,000 – Identity theft where the total damages range from $300 to $2,000 are punishable as a Class 3 felony, which carries a prison term of 2 to 6 years and a fine of up to $25,000.
- Identity Theft, $2,000 to $10,000 – Identity theft ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 is a Class 2 felony and is punishable by a prison term of 3 to 7 years and a fine of up to $25,000.
- Identity Theft, $10,000 to $100,000 – This type of identity theft is a Class 1 felony, which carries a penalty of 4 to 15 years in state prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
- Identity Theft, Greater Than $100,000 – Identity theft on this scale is classified as a Class X felony, which carries a prison sentence of 6 to 30 years and a fine up to $25,000.
It’s important to note that if the victim of identity theft is over age 60, disabled or the identity theft was carried out as part of an organized crime operation, you may be charged with aggravated identity theft, which carries stiffer penalties.
Criminal Defense in Chicago
A conviction for identity theft can have a devastating impact on your future as well as the lives of your loved ones. If you’ve been accused of an identity theft crime in the Chicago area, you need to an experienced legal advocate – a knowledgeable Chicago criminal lawyer, working on your behalf. Chicago criminal defense attorney Michael P. Schmiege specializes in defending the rights of individuals charged with identity theft crimes. He has a proven track record for success and he is dedicated to providing aggressive legal representation to ensure that your freedom and your reputation are protected.
At The Law Offices of Michael P. Schmiege, we are committed to acting in the best interests of every client. Call (312) 906-7800 to find out how we can help you to protect your rights in the face of Illinois identity theft charges.