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Identity Theft

Definition

Identity theft is the act of stealing the identity of someone else. A name and social security number are used to obtain credit cards, utility services and other benefits in someone else’s name. The stolen personal information can be used to run credit card charges, open bank accounts or drain the victim’s bank accounts and receive medical treatment.

Types of Theft

There are a number of different types of thefts including Tax-related theft, medical theft and child theft.

Tax-Related

The IRS keeps track of citizen’s with their social security number. When the IRS finds a discrepancy between declared income and reported income, they will notify the person. This is usually when an investigation will start to find out if an identity has been stolen.

Medical

Medical theft is when an identity is taken for medical services. The alleged identity thief will obtain a social security number, service provider card and medical health plan in the victim’s name. A bill for medical services not received or a call from a debt collector can start alarm bells ringing. Once it’s been established that the person’s identity has been stolen, an investigation will start.

Child

This is the most common type of theft. Often, a child’s social security number can be taken at a variety of places for many reasons. Parents should be vigilant in finding out why the social security number is needed, and what it will be used for in the future. Collection calls and bills for services in the child’s name should be investigated. Sometimes, the perpetrator is one of the child’s parents.

Laws and Jail Time in Maryland

Under Maryland Criminal Code §8-301, if the amount in controversy is less than five hundred dollars, the crime is considered a misdemeanor and the punishment is a fine up to $5,000 or imprisonment of up to 18 months in jail. If the money stolen is over $500, it is considered a felony and carries a fine of $25,000 or a prison term of not more than 5 years. Along with the jail term and fines, the defendant could be ordered to pay restitution to the courts and victim. This would include attorney fees, administrative court costs and any debts incurred.

Criminal Defense

Based on the type of crime and severity, an attorney must be vigorous in the defense of their client. Theft can be difficult to prove without appropriate admissible evidence and conviction is never a guarantee. The prosecutor must have solid evidence that theft did in fact occur, and that the defendant was the one who committed the crime. In some cases, it can be a hard crime to prove with substantial evidence, but theft charges must always be defended aggressively.

Anyone under investigation for theft should consult an attorney immediately. There’s a better chance for successful defense when a lawyer is brought into the early stages of the investigation.

If you are being investigated for theft or you’ve been charged with the crime, contact Robinson & Associates for an immediate and free consultation at 443-524-7395. We have been aggressively defending theft cases for over 20 years.

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