Group Picture of The Law Offices of Mark Sherman, LLC

Identity Theft

Many of the top criminal lawyers in Connecticut would agree that one of most widely committed non-violent crimes in recent years is Identity Theft. Technology and the internet can be a double-edged sword—your best friend or worst enemy—especially when police accuse you of using technology and the internet to commit Identity Theft. What outrages Greenwich and Stamford police and prosecutors most about Identity Theft is the permanent damage and havoc that these crimes wreak on a victim’s personal and professional lives, soiling their reputation, and detrimentally affecting their ability to find employment, obtain housing, insurance and mortgages. Too often, top Stamford criminal lawyers have seen their clients arrested for crimes they did not commit, but were actually committed by someone who stole their identity in another part of the country. So if you have been arrested for 53a-129 Identity Theft in Stamford, Greenwich, Westport, Fairfield or Darien, then don’t waste any time in calling a top Stamford criminal lawyer as soon as possible to understand the nature of the charges being brought against you and to start discussing the defenses available to you in fighting these Connecticut Identity Theft charges.

The Definition of Identity Theft under Connecticut Law

Under Connecticut General Statutes 53a-129a, Identity Theft is defined as using the “personal identifying information” of another person to obtain money, credit, goods, services, property or medical information without the consent of the other person. Depending on the age of the victim or the amount of money stolen, Connecticut Identify Theft arrests can be charged in 3 different degrees. However, before understanding the difference among the various degrees of Identity Theft arrests in Stamford, it is important to understand what Connecticut criminal law considers to be “personal identifying information.”

What is “Personal Identifying Information” under Connecticut Identity Theft Laws?

To answer this question, top Greenwich criminal lawyers will point you to CGS 53a-129a, which specifically defines “personal identifying information” as any name, number or other information that may be used alone—or together with other information—to identify a specific individual. This Connecticut criminal statute is specific as to what can be considered “personal identifying information.” It can include an individual’s date of birth, mother’s maiden name, license number, taxpayer identification number, savings account number, credit or debit card number, or Social Security number. Connecticut judges and appellate court panels have broadened the definition or personal identifying information to include any biological and biometric data such as fingerprints, voiceprints or retina imaging. Top Darien criminal lawyers agree that using any of these examples of information and media without authorization can result in a Connecticut identity theft arrest.

The Different Degrees of Identity Theft Charges & Their Penalties

Under CGS 53a-129, Connecticut Identity Theft arrests can come in one of three degrees. As any of the best Stamford criminal lawyers will confirm, the degree charged depends exclusively on two factors: (1) the victim’s age and (2) the value of the goods, services or property obtained.

Identity Theft in the First Degree – C.G.S. § 53a-129b

You can be arrested in Stamford Connecticut for Identity Theft in the First Degree if you knowingly use personal identifying information of another person and (1) the victim is under 60 years of age and the value of the property obtained exceeds $10,000 or (2) the victim is 60 years of age or older and the value of the property acquired exceeds $5,000. Identity Theft in the First Degree is more particularly defined in CGS 53a-129b. It is the most serious Identity Theft charge and is therefore designated as a Class B Felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $15,000, and probation.

Identity Theft in the Second Degree – C.G.S. § 53a-129c

You can be arrested in Connecticut for Identity Theft in the Second Degree under CGS 53a-129c if you use personal identifying information of another person and (1) the victim is under 60 years old and the value of the property is between $5,000 and $10,000 or (2) the victim is 60 or older, and property of any value is taken. Second Degree Identity Theft is considered a Class C felony which means it carries up to 10 years in prison, a maximum $10,000 fine, and probation.

Identity Theft in the Third Degree – C.G.S. § 53a-129d

You can be arrested in Greenwich or Stamford Connecticut for Identity Theft in the Third Degree per CGS 53a-129d if you use any personal identifying information of another person to obtain or attempt to obtain goods, property or services. Any unauthorized use or attempted use of personally identifying information can be criminal, regardless of the value of the property taken or sought. Further, with 53a-129d Third Degree Identity Theft arrests and charges, the age of the alleged victim is irrelevant as well. Some of the best Greenwich criminal lawyers and attorneys in Connecticut have actually seen personal identifying information of babies and infants stolen and used in Connecticut Identity Theft arrests. Identity Theft in the Third Degree under 53a-129d is a Class D Felony and is punishable by up to 5 years in jail, a maximum $5,000 fine, and probation.

Fighting Your Greenwich & Stamford Identity Theft Arrests

As each degree of a Connecticut Identity Theft arrest is a felony charge, fighting your Stamford or Greenwich Connecticut Identity Theft charges was never more important. Too often the best Stamford criminal lawyers and attorneys will see Identity Theft charges trumped up against a spouse tangled up in messy divorce where a jilted husband or wife will accuse their spouse of committing Identity Theft, when they simply used their spouse’s personal identifying information to pay for household expenses, a mortgage or car payment. Other cases may involve someone unknowingly being roped into an Identity Theft ring or scheme when their personal identifying information is used without their knowledge. In other scenarios, top Connecticut Identity Theft lawyers will see police and prosecutors try and hold minor participants or players in identity theft rings responsible for all of the money losses and damages in a case (mostly to pressure them to roll over on other co-conspirators). In fact, 53a-48 Conspiracy arrest charges usually go hand-in-hand with Identity Theft cases, as Identity Theft rings are usually very complicated and involve the coordination of many participants. Here’s why: police believe Identity Theft rings require each participant to play a specific role in the Connecticut conspiracy: there are the people who hack into the businesses and banks to steal the personal information, there are people who sell this information on the street and in the black market, and then there are the foot soldiers who go and pick up the merchandise and contraband purchased with the stolen personal information. Police spend years investigating these Identity Theft rings, often going undercover in hopes of infiltrating these rings. And as the best Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyers have seen, the more work and resources the police invest into busting up these stings, the more aggressively the prosecutors will fight you in court.

The Identity Theft criminal lawyers at Mark Sherman Law are ready to help you aggressively fight your 53a-129 Identity Theft arrests. If necessary, we are not afraid to push back and reject prosecution plea bargain offers and take your case to trial. Unlike many of our competitors, we offer the services of up to 5 criminal lawyers to work on your case (compared to the prosecutors who usually only assign 1 or 2 prosecutors to a case). Computer and digital forensic files and phone records must be carefully reviewed, along with all of the other evidence that the police have gathered against you. Additionally, if motions to suppress evidence are necessary, then you will need us to file these motions early on your case to put additional pressure on the prosecution. Our two-attorney approach ensures that at least two of our Stamford criminal lawyers will review every piece of evidence and police report for defects and mistakes. We will sit with you to craft the most cost-effective defense strategy, whether you seek a full-blown trial or alternatively, the fairest and most lenient plea deal possible.

Can You Get the Connecticut First-Time Offender Accelerated Rehabilitation Program for a Stamford Identity Theft Arrest?

Yes, but only in limited circumstances. You cannot under any circumstances apply for the Accelerated Rehabilitation (“AR”) Program for a Connecticut arrest for First Degree Identity Theft. If you are arrested for Identity Theft in the Second Degree, then your top Stamford criminal lawyer will have to make a showing of “good cause” to the court in order to grant your AR application. For Third Degree Identity Theft arrests under 53a-129c, however, you are eligible to apply for the AR program without any showing of good cause. As with any Connecticut AR application, you first must apply for the program and then notify the victim or victims of your case that a hearing will take place in Superior Court. The victims then have a right to be heard and object to the judge considering your Accelerated Rehabilitation application for your 53a-129 Stamford Connecticut Identity Theft arrests.

It is always a good idea to consult with your top New Canaan, Darien or Stamford Identity Theft criminal lawyer to learn how to position your case for the best chance of success with your Accelerated Rehabilitation application. Did you submit the best memo of law and mitigation package to the judge? Did you make a sufficient showing of “good cause” to the Connecticut judge? Did your Stamford criminal lawyer try to smoothe the case over with the alleged victims and make sure they were paid up-front restitution and made whole? Did your top Stamford criminal lawyer try to persuade the prosecutor to support your AR application? All of these questions should be carefully considered prior submitting an application for the Accelerated Rehabilitation first time offenders program for your Connecticut Identity Theft arrest. The good news here is that if your AR application is granted by the Superior Court judge, then upon your successful completion of the program, your charges will be dismissed without any criminal record and your arrest records will destroyed.

Victim Representation in Stamford Connecticut Identity Theft Cases

As often as we defend and fight Stamford Connecticut Identity Theft arrests on behalf of those arrested for 53a-129 Identity Theft charges, we are also often hired to assist victims of Identity Theft. These victims have usually had their identity stolen from them through the illegal use of their credit cards, passports, driver’s license numbers, or social security cards. The perpetrators have used their personal identifying information to blow through credit card debts, buy expensive merchandise, and commit other crimes around the country or world, creating a desperate and terrible situation for Connecticut Identity Theft victims. The feelings of violation, frustration and desperation for these victims can be paralyzing. In cases like these, the victim representation lawyers at Mark Sherman Law have helped Identity Theft victims recoup their losses, work with police and prosecutors, and file and expedite insurance claims and lawsuits in order to make these victims whole. So if you are a victim of Identity Theft in Connecticut, keep reading to see how we can help you work with the police, or give us call to learn more about your other options in recovering from 53a-129 Identity Theft.

More Victim Assistance: Filing a Police Report for Identity Theft

One service the Mark Sherman Law Firm Victim Representation offers is assisting Connecticut victims of identity theft in filing a police report and assisting a police investigation. Identity Theft detectives in Stamford, Greenwich and Darien usually require a victim to organize paperwork and affidavit statements for the police that make it easy for them to build the strongest possible case against a CGS 53a-129 Identity Theft suspect. While we always inform victims that they do not need a lawyer to file a police report, some victims just feel more comfortable having a Stamford criminal victim representation lawyer assist them through the police investigation process. As part of our service, we will sit with you and your family, review all relevant documents and evidence, and then organize and package the materials in a manner and method that will hopefully give you the best chance of prosecuting the Identity Theft suspect and getting you the financial restitution and out-of-pocket moneys and costs that you have incurred in cleaning up the mess created by the Stamford Identity Theft crime. And in some cases, we have even recovered our attorneys fees from accused Identity Theft suspects.

Other Identity Theft-Related Charges in Connecticut

Connecticut lawmakers have managed to keep pace with technology and have passed other laws forbidding certain acts that are similar to identity theft. The Stamford Connecticut Identity Theft criminal lawyers at Mark Sherman Law Firm have tried to follow the lead of the best Stamford, New Canaan and Ridgefield criminal lawyers in keeping up with these laws in order to help defend our clients as knowledgeably and cost-effectively as possible. To that end, we have summarized a few of these Identity Theft-related Connecticut crimes below.

Trafficking Another’s Personal Identifying Information – C.G.S. § 53a-129e

You can be arrested in Stamford for illegal Trafficking Personal Identifying Information under CGS 53a-129e if you (1) sell, give or in some other way transfer any personal identifying information of another to a third party, (2) knew that the information was obtained without permission, and (3) were aware that the third person intended to use the information for an illegal purpose. All 3 elements of this crime must be satisfied to be arrested, so be sure to review each of these elements of this Connecticut Identity Theft crime with your top Stamford criminal lawyer attorney before pleading guilty or going to trial. Trafficking Personal Identifying Information of Another is a Class D felony and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a maximum $5,000 fine, and probation.

Illegal Use of Credit Cards – C.G.S. § 53a-128d

Connecticut law prohibits unauthorized individuals from using another’s credit card to purchase goods, services or property. The use of a credit card is unauthorized if you represent to others that you have consent from the card owner or the card is forged, expired or has been revoked. If the value of the goods, services or property taken exceeds $500 in any six-month period, the crime is a class D felony. A class D felony is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and $5,000 in fines. Any unauthorized use of a credit card for $500 or less in a six-month period is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in prison and $2,000 in fines.

While the person using the credit card may be charged with illegal use of credit card under CGS 53a-128d, the individual receiving the benefit of the purchase can be charged with receipt of money, goods or property obtained by the illegal use of credit card under CGS 53a-128g. In addition, if the recipient knew the goods, services or property received were obtained through the use of an authorized credit card, then there can be arrest for 53a-128g. Receipt of money, goods or services obtained by illegal use of credit card is a class A misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

Contact an Identity Theft Lawyer at Mark Sherman Law Today

As you can see, CGS 53a-129 Identity Theft can carry severe, life-changing consequences if not handled properly. The Darien, New Canaan, and Stamford Connecticut Identity Theft lawyers and attorneys at Mark Sherman Law will sit with you to review all the evidence the police have against you and formulate the most cost-effective and aggressive defense, all with the hope getting you best result possible. And if you are a victim of Identity Theft and need help with the police and criminal court process, call one of our Identity Theft victim attorneys right away to learn how we can help you get your identity back, your money back, and your life back. Whether we represent the suspect or the victim, we are focused on one goal: results. So contact a Mark Sherman Law Identity Theft lawyer today to discuss your defense options and to get started on resolving your pending Stamford Identity Theft charges. Contact us today at (203) 358-4700.

Related Links: