Understanding Computer Fraud in Illinois

 Posted on February 22, 2014 in Criminal Defense

In an age where almost everything can be done via computer, computer fraud is treated as a very serious criminal offense in Illinois and across the country. Computer fraud can be committed in a number of ways and carries various penalties based on the severity of the crime. According to Illinois computer crime law, there are three ways to commit computer fraud, each carrying its own penalty:
  • Accessing a computer, program, or data intending to devise or execute a scheme or artifice to defraud, or in order to deceive is considered to be a Class 4 felony;

  • Obtaining the use of, damaging, or destroying a computer (or any part of the computer), or altering, deleting, or removing any program or data as part of a deception, or in connection with a scheme to defraud is a Class 3 felony offense;

  • Accessing or giving means of access to a computer (or any of its parts), or programs or data, and obtaining or gaining control of property, money or services in a scheme or artifice to defraud or as part of a deception. This is a Class 4 felony if the money property, or services are worth $1,000 or less, a Class 3 felony is the money, property, or services are worth more than $1,000 but less than $50,000, or a Class 2 felony if the value of the money, property, or services is worth $50,000 or more.

In addition to the usual penalties associated with the above offenses, a conviction of computer fraud carries a penalty of property forfeiture. This means that the sentencing court can determine what property will be forfeit, including any property the convicted person has maintained or acquired as a result of their offense, whether directly or indirectly. They must also forfeit any interest in business or enterprise that they may have participated in conducting, provided their relationship is traceable to any benefit or property they obtained through their crime. Being accused of a computer crime is a serious matter, and having an experienced attorney at your side is essential. If you have been accused of computer fraud in Illinois, contact the law office of Hal M. Garfinkel today for a consultation on your case.
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