What's the difference between fraud and identity theft?
Fraud is defined as intentionally deceiving someone (or an entity) or misrepresenting someone (or an entity) in order to receive some type of gain for yourself or another person. The law covers various types of fraud, including identification fraud, computer fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, credit card fraud, financial institution fraud, securities fraud, and Medicaid/Medicare fraud.
Identity theft is when you illegally obtain the personal data of another person in order to gain something for yourself or another person. The data obtained can include social security numbers, PIN numbers, credit history, and other types of information. Identity theft became a federal crime in 1998 when Congress passed the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act.
Because of their similarities in nature, the penalties for fraud and identity theft are generally about the same. They can include:
- Forfeit of personal property
- Up to 15 years in prison for identity theft alone
- Up to 30 years in prison for a mix of fraud and identity theft
What to Do If You're Facing a Federal Crime
Whether you're looking at fraud, identity theft, or another type of federal crime, it's a matter that is very serious in nature and should be handled by a qualified and skilled attorney. The fact of the matter is that you're going up against the government and their resources are endless. Don't wait until you've officially been charged with a crime to reach out; you should call us as soon as you realize you're being investigated.
At The Law Offices of Richard L. Cooper, we have experience in defending federal cases and we know how to protect your rights. Give us a call to schedule a free consultation and discover what your options are.