Identity theft is a modern crime that prosecutors are taking more and more seriously each year. In our age of computers and hacking, getting ahold of other people’s personal information is easier than ever. Some people believe that hiding behind the internet makes them anonymous, but police are catching up with these tactics and catching far more people in the act of identity theft than they did just a few years ago.
At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, our Baltimore identity theft charge defense lawyers have years of experience defending against these charges at the state and federal level. We understand the complicated nuances of identity theft cases and know how to craft a winning defense to get your charges downgraded or dismissed. If you are concerned about an identity theft charge, call us today at (410) 694-7291.
Types of Identity Theft in Baltimore
Identity theft is sometimes a difficult concept for people unfamiliar with the law to understand. At its core, it means taking someone else’s personal information and representing yourself as that person. There are a variety of ways such theft can be committed and a variety of reasons why someone may steal someone else’s identity. Under Maryland law, the types of conduct charged under the identity theft statute can generally be divided into five categories.
Identity Theft to Avoid Apprehension, Prosecution, or Repayment of Debts
An individual might steal someone’s identifying information and pass themselves off as that person because they are facing problems in their own personal lives and are trying to run away from them. Under Maryland law, it is illegal for any person to knowingly and intentionally assume the identity of another person (whether that person is real or fictitious) to avoid being apprehended, identified, or prosecuted for a crime, or to avoid paying a debt or other legal obligation.
Identity Theft Used to Obtain a Thing of Value
This is perhaps the type of identity theft most people are familiar with. Under Maryland law, it is illegal for any person to knowingly, intentionally or with fraudulent intent possess, acquire, or help another possess or obtain any personal identifying information of an individual without that individual’s consent in order to use, transfer, or sell the information to get a thing of value in the name of the individual.
An example of this type of identity theft would be coming into possession of someone’s personal information and using that information to sign up for a credit card in their name. Another example would be selling people’s personal information that you obtained without their consent to others for a payment.
Identity Theft Using a Re-encoder or Skimming Device
Re-encoders and skimming devices are particular tools used by those who are running advanced identity theft schemes. A re-encoder is a device that can essentially transfer the microchip information from one credit card onto another. A skimming device is used to access, read, scan, obtain, memorize, or store personal identifying information or a payment device number encoded on the magnetic strip of a credit card. This section of the code makes it illegal to obtain someone’s personal information by either of these means, even if it is never actually used for identity fraud.
Possession of a Re-encoder or Skimming Device with the Intent to Commit Identity Fraud
This section also relates to re-encoders and skimming devices specifically. It essentially makes it illegal to posses one of these devices with the intent to use it for identity fraud purposes, even if the devices have not actually been used.
Identity Theft Through False Claim of Representing Another
This type of identity theft occurs when someone impersonates someone else through the use of their personal information in order to get that third person to provide their personal identification to them. For example, if you used a bank employee’s ID to impersonate them and convince customers to give you confidential information under this guise, you would be in violation of this section.
Penalties for Identity Theft Crimes in Baltimore
The penalties for identity theft will depend on which section of the code you are charged with. If you are accused of identity theft to avoid apprehension, possession of a re-encoder or skimming device, or identity theft through false claim of representing another, you will be charged with a misdemeanor. This misdemeanor is punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
If you use the personal information of another to obtain a thing or service valued at less than $500, you will be charged with a misdemeanor. This misdemeanor is punishable by a term of up to 18 months in prison and fines up to $5,000. If you use the information to obtain a thing or service valued at $500 or more, you are guilty of a felony and can face up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. If your obtain multiple services or goods as part of a common identity fraud scheme, the amount of these goods and services in the aggregate will be used to determine the amount for purposes of charging.
Finally, a person who violates any of these sections under circumstances that reasonably indicate that the person’s intent was to manufacture, distribute, or dispense another individual’s personal identifying information is guilty of a felony punishable subject to imprisonment not exceeding 15 years and fines not exceeding $25,000. This would apply, for example, to people creating fake identification cards in another person’s name and selling them to a third party.
Call Our Experienced Baltimore Identify Theft Defense Attorneys Today
Identity theft is a serious crime that comes with severe penalties. However, at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, our experienced Baltimore identity theft charges lawyers know that there is often more to your case that what the prosecution alleges. We have defended numerous identity theft cases successfully in the Baltimore courts and will be sure that your rights and respected and you get a chance to tell your side of the story. For a free consultation, call us today at (410) 694-7291.