Atlanta Financial Identity Fraud Defense
You might think that criminal charges for financial identity fraud are not a big deal because it is a non-violent crime, but identity fraud is a felony, and if you get convicted of it, you run the risk of receiving a long prison sentence. You have probably seen news reports about identity fraud cases in which the defendant gained the trust of a financially secure but physically or emotionally vulnerable person and then used the victim’s identifying information to make tens of thousands of dollars of purchases, if not more. The same criminal charges could result when someone does nothing more than use a stolen credit card to pay for a meal at Waffle House. If you get charged with financial identity fraud, you should take the charges seriously. You should also take your legal rights as a defendant seriously, including the right to representation by a defense lawyer. The Atlanta white collar crimes defense lawyers at Ghanayem & Rayasam can help you fight your financial identity fraud charges.
What is Financial Identity Fraud?
According to Georgia Code section 16.9.121, financial identity fraud is any action in which the defendant uses another person’s identifying information to make a financial transaction without the victim’s consent. You can also face financial identity fraud charges even if you did not make any transactions with the illegally obtained information, as long as the police have evidence that you planned to make unauthorized transactions with it. In the context of this law, identifying information is any information that can be used to make purchases, take out loans, or open bank accounts and which people tend to keep private in order to protect themselves from identity fraud. Examples include the victim’s social security number, date of birth, bank account number, and credit card number. You can still get charged with financial identity fraud if the person whose information you are using is deceased. You cannot get charged with financial identity fraud, however, if you are under 21 years of age and using another person’s identifying information to purchase products that are illegal for people under 21 to buy, such as alcoholic beverages or tobacco products.
What are the Consequences of Financial Identity Fraud?
Financial identity fraud is a felony. For the first offense, the maximum penalty is one to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. If you have a prior financial identity fraud conviction, then the sentence for the subsequent conviction is three to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. You might also be required to pay restitution to victims, meaning that you pay them back for the financial losses you caused them.
What to Do if You are Accused of Financial Identity Fraud
The criminal defense lawyers at Ghanayem & Rayasam can help you if you or someone close to you is facing criminal charges for financial identity fraud. Your lawyer will listen to you and help you find the best response to your charges, such as going to trial or getting your charges dropped.