Identity theft in Colorado is a class 4 felony, punishable by between two and six years in prison and fines from $2,000 to $500,000. Like other financial crimes, identity theft is considered a white-collar crime. Because identity theft is often committed via the internet, it is sometimes categorized as a cybercrime. This crime can be charged in state or federal court; however, federal authorities are rarely involved unless the offense crossed state lines, involved a substantial loss, or was part of a conspiracy to commit other crimes.
Colorado defines identity theft as knowingly using personal identifying information, financial identifying information, or the financial device of someone else without permission or legal authorization to obtain cash, credit, property, service, or any other thing of value or to make a financial payment.
When federal prosecutors are involved, identity theft is usually charged under 18 U.S.C. §1028, which makes it a crime to knowingly produce, transfer, or possess identification documents or authentication features without lawful authority, to produce, transfer, or possess false identification documents, or to produce, transfer, or possess document-making implements to create a false identification document.
Identity theft is a pervasive problem in the United States. People frequently try to access someone else’s personal or financial information through unsecured networks or internet purchasing scams. Charges often involve allegations of:
However, far too many people are falsely accused of identity theft. If you are under investigation or have been charged in Colorado, you need an experienced identity theft attorney who has successfully litigated these cases in state and federal court.
People charged with identity theft often face additional criminal charges such as forgery, illegal possession of equipment, illegal use of interstate transportation, or fraud. An experienced identity theft attorney can evaluate your case, explain your options, and mount a vigorous defense.
If you are under investigation or have been charged, do not consent to an interview or speak to law enforcement agents without first speaking with a lawyer. Colorado identity theft attorney Kevin Cahill can guide you through your discussions with law enforcement agents, protect you from incriminating yourself, and negotiate with the prosecutor for lesser charges or even dismissal of the case against you.
Your specific defense will depend on the nature of the charges against you. Four of the most common defenses to charges are:
False accusations. Unfortunately, sometimes the government falsely accuses people of crimes, including the crime of identity theft. If you have been falsely accused, an experienced criminal defense lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation to explain the mistake and have the charges dismissed.
Authorized use. Consent is a powerful defense against charges of identity theft. In some cases, we may be able to claim that you had authorization to use the other person’s identifying information. If you had permission to use someone else’s personal or financial identifying information, you cannot be convicted of identity theft. To prove consent, we will present documents or testimony that shows you were given permission to use someone else’s personal or financial identifying information.
Lack of intent. In many cases, the circumstances surrounding a case of alleged identity theft are not clear enough to warrant a criminal charge. If you were in possession of someone else’s personal or financial identifying information but did not intend to use it to commit a crime, you cannot be convicted of identity theft.
Insufficient evidence. To convict someone of identity theft, the prosecutor must prove every element of the criminal offense, beyond a reasonable doubt. Identifying holes in the prosecutor’s theory of the case or a lack of evidence, even as to one element of the crime, can be enough to have the case dismissed, the charges reduced, or for the jury to return a verdict of Not Guilty.
If you suspect you are under investigation for identity theft, contact the Law Office of Kevin Cahill today by calling (720) 548-2990. In many cases, we can help you avoid an indictment by working with the investigating agency to show them why you should not be charged.
If you have been charged with identity theft, a skilled identity theft attorney will analyze your case and build a compelling defense to minimize the likelihood of a conviction and the penalties you could face.