Posted on June 20, 2024 in White Collar Crimes

In the digital age, identity theft is an increasing concern. Data breaches, online scams, and various similar crimes result in the compromise and misuse of people’s personal information. Because of the ways victims can be affected by identity theft, law enforcement officials take identity theft offenses seriously. Understanding the activities that could lead to arrests for identity theft or related criminal charges are crucial for people who may be accused of white-collar crimes. An experienced attorney can help a person in these situations understand the best steps to take to defend against identity theft charges.

Activities That Could Lead to Identity Theft Accusations

In Wisconsin, identity theft charges may apply if a person is accused of using someone else’s personal information without their permission, even if that person is deceased. These charges may apply if you are accused of engaging in activities such as the following.

  • Unauthorized use of personal identifying information: This activity includes using another person’s Social Security Number to apply for credit, loans, or government benefits, accessing and using another person’s bank account or credit card information to make purchases or transfer funds, or using another person’s health insurance information to receive medical care or prescriptions.
  • Creating false documents: Identity theft may involve producing or using fake identification documents, such as driver’s licenses or passports, to impersonate someone else. These documents could be used to submit applications for credit, loans, or other services under someone else’s identity.
  • Computer fraud: Computer systems or networks can be used to obtain people’s personal information. This includes sending emails or messages that appear to be from legitimate sources to trick recipients into providing personal information. Accessing computer systems or databases to steal personal information or deliberately causing or exploiting data breaches to obtain people’s information may lead to charges of computer crimes in addition to identity theft.
  • Mail theft: Mail theft includes taking mail from someone’s mailbox to obtain personal information, such as bank statements, credit card offers, or tax documents. These offenses also involve redirecting mail by filing a change of address form to send mail to another address and intercept sensitive information.

Penalties for Identity Theft and Related Crimes

The penalties for identity theft and related offenses in Wisconsin can be severe. People who are convicted face large fines, lengthy prison sentences, the requirement to pay restitution, and other penalties. Specific penalties for different charges may include the following.

  • Identity Theft: The unauthorized use of someone else’s personal information may result in Class H felony charges. A person who is convicted faces a maximum sentence of six years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. They may also be required to pay restitution to victims to address the financial losses resulting from identity theft.
  • Computer crimes: Accessing computer systems or networks to access data with the intent to defraud someone or obtain property may result in Class I felony charges. If an offense resulted in damages of at least $2,500, a person may be charged with a Class F felony. A Class I felony may result in a sentence of up to three and a half years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. A Class F felony may result in a sentence of up to 12 and a half years in prison, a fine of up to $25,000, or both

Contact Our Milwaukee, WI Identity Theft Defense Attorneys

Criminal cases involving identity theft, computer fraud, internet crimes, or other similar offenses can be complex, and if convicted one will face serious penalties. At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, our Milwaukee, WI white collar crime lawyers provide strong representation in these cases, helping people understand their rights, develop effective defense strategies, and determine how to achieve positive outcomes in their cases. Contact us today at 414-271-1440 to set up a consultation and get legal help with defense against identity theft charges.