Let Us Evaluate Your Case Se Habla EspaƱol

Identity Theft: a White Collar Crime

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has a simple definition for “white collar crime.” According to the FBI, white collar crime means lying, cheating, and stealing – that’s it in a nutshell.

The term was coined in 1939 and today it refers to a wide range of frauds that are typically committed “white collar” professionals, but not always.

While a violent crime, such as an assault or a robbery involves a victim, white collar crimes involve victims as well, though there is no element of violence per se.

Identity theft, for example, can destroy someone’s credit, plummeting their FICO score, forcing them to pay high interest rates and spend countless hours trying to prove that their identity was stolen.

On the other hand, a fraud scheme can cost investors their entire life savings, causing them to lose millions of dollars in the blink of an eye.

Today, there are dozens of white collar crimes, all of which are investigated by the FBI. In this post, we are going to discuss the white collar crime of identity theft, a crime that occurs frequently in Texas.

What does identity theft involve?

Identity theft is where a person illegally obtains someone else’s personal identifying information in order to steal or commit fraud. Such identifying information includes, but is not limited to a victim’s:

  • Name
  • Passwords
  • Birth certificate
  • Passport number
  • Social Security number
  • Driver’s license number
  • Bank account information
  • Credit card number
  • Medicare number
  • Biometric data (e.g. fingerprints)

In 1998, the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act was passed by Congress to tackle the growing problem of identity theft.

Amending Title 18, U.S. Code Section 1028, the Act made it a federal crime to use someone else’s identifying information with the intention of aiding, abetting, or committing any illegal activity that is a felony under state law or that violates federal law.

Going even further, in 2004, Congress passed the Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act, which established penalties for more serious identity theft schemes, such as those involving immigration offenses, felonies, using others’ Social Security benefits, and using another’s identity to commit domestic terrorism.

Under this Act, the court is required to tack on an additional two year sentence for general “aggravated” offenses, and another five years for offenses involving terrorism.

Charged with identity theft? Contact our firm today!

Are you being accused of identity theft? If so, contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC to speak with one of our Plano criminal defense attorneys. We defend clients in the state and federal courts, and are eager to protect your constitutional rights!