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Understanding identity theft and identity fraud

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Financial identify fraud is a crime and if a person is accused of it, he or she can face serious penalties. There is helpful information available about the differences between identity theft and identity fraud, as well as potential defenses to this crime.

Identity theft vs. identity fraud

Identity theft involves stealing a person’s private financial information with the intent to assume that person’s identity. Usually, the theft involves a credit card or a bank account. The person may access the information online or through physical theft, like stealing information from a person’s home.

Identity fraud involves using the information that was stolen and creating a false identity and documents, like a fraudulent passport or license to then conduct financial transactions.

Penalties and potential defenses

If a person is convicted of identity theft or identity fraud in Texas, it is a felony. The penalties may change depending on how many items were obtained, possessed or transferred.

If it is fewer than five items, the person can face 180 days to two years in state prison plus a fine of up to $10,000. If it is between 10 and 49 items, he or she can face two to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000. If it is 50 or more items, the person can face 5 to 99 years in state prison plus a fine of up to $10,000.

Some potential defenses include lack of intent, that the accused person did not obtain or possess the identity of another person and the accused’s age. An experienced attorney can review the charges and provide guidance about next steps.