Defense Lawyers for Theft and Fraud Charges in Ocean County, New Jersey
The crime of identity theft has reached epidemic proportions in the last decade. This is due to society’s ever-increasing dependence upon technology, the increasing speed of finding and passing personal data, and exchange of personal information online. As a result, new avenues for theft continually develop and adapt. Identity theft occurs when an individual uses the personal information of another person in order to obtain some benefit, usually monetary. As more and more people use the Internet to conduct banking transactions, shop online, and perform other economic transactions via unsecured networks, this crime will continue to grow. Defendants facing these charges are often also charged with accompanying offenses that may include Credit Card Fraud, Conspiracy, Theft by Deception, Forgery, and Receiving Stolen Property. Due to the fact that state courts and prosecutors notice the growing trend and want to curb instances of the crime in addition to the serious harm suffered by the victims of identity theft, the penalties upon conviction are very serious and include incarceration, restitution, and probation.
Despite the gravity of an identity theft offense, and depending upon the particular facts of the case at hand, our Ocean County criminal defense lawyers are often able to work with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office to secure our clients’ admittance into Pre-Trial Intervention so that they can avoid a criminal conviction altogether upon successful completion. At the Law Offices of Proetta & Oliver, our lawyers represent clients charged with identity theft throughout Ocean County and New Jersey including Manchester, Brick, Jackson, Bayville, Waretown, Little Egg Harbor, Forked River, To speak with an experienced Ocean County identity theft defense attorney to build a case strategy customized to meet your needs, contact our Toms River office at (848) 238-2100 for a free consultation.
Identity Theft in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:21-17
An individual may be charged with Theft of Identity under N.J.S.A. 2C:21-17,if he or she:
1) Impersonates or assumes the false identity of another and does an act in such character for the purpose of obtaining a benefit or to injure or defraud another person.
2) Pretends to be a representative of some person or organization and does an act for the purpose of obtaining a benefit or to injure or defraud another.
3) Impersonates another individual, takes a false identity, or makes a false or misleading statement regarding the identity of any person, in an oral or written application for services, for the purpose of obtaining any services.
4) Obtains any personal identifying information, without permission, about another individual and then uses the information, or assists another person in utilizing the information in order to take the identity of another individual, for the purpose of fraudulently obtaining or attempting to obtain a benefit or services, or to avoid paying a debt or another legal obligation or to avoid prosecution of a crime.
5) Impersonates another person, assumes a false identity or makes a false or misleading statement, in the course of making an oral or written application for services, with the purpose of avoiding payment for prior services.
Penalties for Identity Theft Crimes in NJ
Identity theft is a very serious offense and a conviction of this offense could result in very serious penalties, including up to 20 years of incarceration and restitution to the victim. According to 33 NJPRAC § 17.6, restitution can include the cost of repairing the victim’s credit, or the costs associated with a civil or administrative proceeding to satisfy a debt, lien, or other obligation which arose out of the fraudulent action.
Under N.J.S.A. 2C:21-17, Theft of Identity, the grading of identity these offenses is as follows:
2nd Degree Identity Theft
More than $75,000 or more than 5 victims
5 – 10 years in state prison; presumption of incarceration
3rd Degree Identity Theft
$500 – $75,000 or 2 – 5 victims
3 – 5 years in state prison
4th Degree Identity Theft
Loss is under $500 – 1 victim
Up to 18 months in prison
Contact Lakewood NJ Identity Theft Defense Attorneys for Answers
Identity theft cases often involve numerous defendants who conspire to achieve a larger scheme. These individuals often include computer hackers, handlers who actually purchase the goods, and fencers to launder the money and stolen goods. These cases may affect numerous victims. Furthermore, the FBI often gets involved in identity theft investigations because the financial transactions often cross state lines. For these reasons and others, identity theft cases can be become very difficult and complicated due to voluminous amounts of transactional discovery. These cases may take years to litigate. If the U.S. Attorney’s Office chooses to prosecute the case, the stakes become even greater because federal sentencing is much more severe than sentencing at the state level.
As founding attorney, Will Proetta has successfully handled a wide array of criminal and municipal court charges such as identity theft during his career. Our firm represents clients for criminal charges throughout Ocean County and New Jersey including Bay Head, Tuckerton, Seaside Park, Lakewood, Eagleswood Township, and Plumsted Township. If you or your loved one has been arrested for identity theft then please feel free to contact our office, conveniently located in Toms River, to speak with an experienced Ocean County identity theft defense lawyer at (848) 238-2100 for a free consultation.
Our phones are answered 24 hours a day. We are available weekdays during business hours. We also meet with clients on evenings and weekends by request. All major credit cards are accepted.