What Is Aggravated Identity Theft?

 Posted on August 27, 2021 in Identity Theft

IL defense lawyerA New York man was sentenced to 36 months in prison for computer fraud and aggravated identity theft. According to the Justice Department news release, he hacked into a college’s network, stole email account information, including passwords. He used that information to gain access to female students’ social media accounts, where he collected nude photos and videos. Then, he traded the private photos with others online.

In response, the college allocated money and resources to address the network breach and assess and repair the damage. Because of that, the court also ordered the man to pay more than $35,000 in restitution and fees to the college.

As far as internet and computer fraud goes, the incident sounds fairly basic, but it begs the question: what is aggravated identity theft?

Identity Theft

Identity theft is whenever you use someone else’s personal identifying information without their permission for fraudulent purposes. What qualifies as personal identifying information is fairly broad. It could be a person’s name, birthdate, address, credit card number, social security number, email, etc. If you are convicted of identity theft at the federal level, you could face up to 15 years in prison.

Aggravated Identity Theft

Typically, an aggravated crime is thought of as especially heinous, such as threatening someone with a gun or stealing from a disabled person. For most basic crimes, there is a wide range of aggravating factors that if proven could enhance your punishment. The same concept applies to aggravated identity theft except the aggravating factors are not defined by a victim or a tool. They are defined by how and why you commit identity theft.

When you commit identity theft, it does not matter how you obtain personal information. You could find it through legal means like conducting a public records search or even looking it up online. The key detail to know is you commit identity theft when you use the information.

However, aggravated identity theft occurs when you commit a felony to obtain the information or use the information for an act of terrorism, according to the federal statute. If you are convicted of the former, you would face a minimum of two years in prison and for the latter, a minimum of five years in prison.

Contact a Chicago, IL Federal Internet Crimes Attorney

If you have been charged with identity theft or aggravated identity theft, you should contact an experienced Illinois federal criminal defense attorney. Hal M. Garfinkel has two decades of experience practicing law in both prosecution and criminal defense. Contact the Law Office of Hal M. Garfinkel today at 312-629-0669 for a free consultation.



Share this post:
Back to Top