At Kostopolous Law Group we routinely handle identity theft cases. Chicago identity theft attorney Gus Kostopoulos is a former prosecutor who will use his experience to protect your freedom. Call our Chicago office today for a free consultation.
Identity theft is basically a new classification of white-collar financial fraud crimes that normally involve accessing another person’s bank account, or using other financial information, without permission. Like other property crimes, authorities at both the law enforcement and prosecutorial level are very aggressive in this area, and as a result, defendants are nearly always charged with the most serious offense that the facts in the case can arguably support. Regardless of how it is charged, identity theft is always at least a Class 3 felony.
What are the Kinds of Identity Theft?
Under Section 16-30 of the Identity Theft Law, prosecutors can choose from several different offenses based on the facts as set forth in the police report or by grand jury witnesses:
- Personal Information: It is a crime to fraudulently use another person’s name, date of birth, Social Security number, drivers’ license number, or any other such personal information to obtain property (including money), services, or credit.
- Identifying Documents: Similarly, it is a crime to wrongfully use or alter an identifying document with the intent to commit a felony.
- Information Sales: Just as defendants cannot use personal information without permission, they cannot sell it to third parties without permission.
- Photo ID: Some people take and alter photo identification badges to gain unlawful access to secure areas.
- Access Information: The statute makes it illegal to use personal information “for the purpose of gaining access to any record of the actions taken, communications made or received, or other activities or transactions of that person.”
It is also illegal to use or possess a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) transponder or tag, or fraudulently use another company’s license information to obtain a building permit.
Pursuant 720 ILCS 5/16-30(b), Prosecutors will enhance the charges to aggravated identity theft if the:
- Alleged victim was older than 60, or
- Conduct was in furtherance of the activities of an organized gang.
What are the Penalties for Identity Theft?
Typically, identity theft under $300 is a Class 4 felony ($25,000 fine and/or one to three years in prison). Some common enhancements, which push the offense to a Class 3 felony (two to five years and/or $25,000 fine) include the alleged victim’s age and military status.
Simple identity theft between $300 and $2,000 is a Class 3 felony, a Class 2 felony (three to seven years and $25,000) between $2,000 and $10,000, a Class 1 felony (four to fifteen years) between $10,000 and $100,000, and a Class X felony (six to thirty years) above $100,000. Class X felons cannot receive probation.
What are Some Defenses?
In 2011, the Illinois Supreme Court invalidated part of the identity theft law, because lawmakers did not specify a criminal intent. That argument probably applies to some other portions of the law as well. All these offenses are very time-consuming to prosecute because there are so many moving parts, and that fact often helps defense attorneys obtain better results during trial and pretrial plea bargaining negotiations.
Speak to a Chicago Identity Theft Attorney Today
Identity theft is one of the most serious property crimes in Illinois. For a free consultation with an aggressive criminal defense attorney in Chicago, contact the Kostopolous Law Group, LLC. Home and jail visits are available.