As of the end of 2015, identity theft remained the most common type of crime reported to law enforcement officials in Pennsylvania and across the United States. Over 2.5 million identity theft complaints are filed by consumers in the United States annually. There are even more incidents of identity theft that go unreported for one reason or another.
Overview of Identity Theft
Identity theft can take many forms. Identity theft can arise out of large-scale data breaches or the stealing of the identity of one individual by a solitary criminal. No matter the derivation of identity theft, the potential losses that can be sustained as a result of this criminal activity are significant.
Zero Tolerance for Identity Theft
Law enforcement officials have been aggressive in attempting to clamp down on identity theft in the United States. This is due in part to the ubiquitous nature of the crime but also because of the harm that identity theft causes to a victim.
In many ways, in jurisdictions like Pennsylvania, it can be said that there is a zero tolerance for identity theft. What this means is that if a person is arrested, prosecuted and convicted for the crime of identity theft in Pennsylvania or elsewhere in the United States, the penalties are likely to be significant. This tends to be the case even when a person is convicted of identity theft for the first time.
Restitution and Identity Theft
A key element of sentence in an identity theft case is likely to be the repayment of losses sustained by victims of the crime. In some Pennsylvania cases, the losses sustained by victims can end up being many thousands of dollars.
In addition to hefty restitution orders, a person convicted of identity theft is likely to face a relatively significant prison term. Indeed, depending on a person’s criminal history as well as the amount of money and number of victims involved, a term of incarceration can be long.
Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney
Because of the complexity of an identity theft case, coupled with the nature of possible penalties, a person charged with this type of crime must retain legal counsel with all deliberate speed. An initial consultation can be arranged with a Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney at no cost to a person charged with identity theft.