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Under New York Penal Code Laws (Sections 190.25,190.65 and 190.78 -190.86) you could be charged and convicted of criminal personal identity theft for knowingly impersonating or presenting yourself as one or more persons and/or using personal identifying information, including a credit card, with the intent of benefit and/or to injure, defraud or cause such person or persons financial loss. Depending on the amount of goods involved and the number of identify fraud victims, you could either be charged with identify theft of the third degree Class A misdemeanor  or higher (Penal Code Section 190.78,190.81-one or more persons defrauded), second degree Class E felony (Penal Code Section 190.79, 190.82-one or more persons defrauded in property in excess of $500) or  first degree class D felony (Penal Code Section 190.80,190.83-one or more persons defrauded of property in excess of $2,000). It is also a crime to be in possession of a skimmer device, and you could be charged with a second degree class A misdemeanor (Penal Code Section 190.85) or a first degree Class E felony (Penal Code Section 190.86) if you have been convicted within the last five years of identity theft.

You could also be charged with grand larceny of the fourth degree (Penal Code 155.30-Class E felony), grand larceny in the third degree (Penal Code Section 155.35-Class D felony), grand larceny in the second degree (Penal Code Section 155.40-Class C felony) or grand larceny in the first degree (Penal Code Section 155.42-Class B felony property value exceeds over $1,000,000).

Fines and Sentences:

In New York, you could face a minimum jail sentence of up one year for an identity theft conviction or up 7 years, and fines from $1,000 up to $5,000, and you may also be subject to restitution to the victim under Penal Code Section 60.27. A first degree Class B felony grand larceny conviction carries a sentence up to 25 years imprisonment and a fine up to $25,000.

Federal Crime

Credit card fraud and identity theft are also considered federal offenses under 18 U.S.C. Sections 1028 and 1029 when someone knowingly transfers or uses another person's identification, including a credit card number, with the intent to commit an illegal act or defraud someone to obtain goods or services in excess of $1,000. You could face a fine and/or imprisonment up to 10 years.

Case Example:

New York police have indicted 111 people in the nation's biggest and the most sophisticated identity theft credit card fraud ring case. "Operation Swiper" began almost two years ago with undercover police and wiretaps of a five group I.D. theft ring based in Ozone Park, Queens. Police reported that the groups sometimes worked together. As of Friday October 7, 2011, police had arrested 85 people and seized handguns, computer electronics and $650,000 in cash during the arrests after searching several homes. Accordingly to New York Police Commissioner, Raymond Kelly, the I.D. theft ring purchased expensive items such as Apple electronics, luxury handbags, shoes and other products with stolen credit card information and then sold it overseas.

The way the I.D. theft ring worked was they hired skimmers who were retail store or other service industry employees who swiped credit card information on a skimming machine in order to steal the information from unsuspecting restaurant patrons and other business customers, as well as bank employees who had information about high end customers. The information was then given to a team of manufacturers in Russia, Libya, Lebanon and China who put it on blank credit cards. These new cards were then used by these five main teams and their criminal shoppers to purchase electronics and luxury items totaling approximately $13 million.

Among those arrested were bank tellers, restaurant workers and other service employees who used the cards also to pay for their luxury shopping sprees and stays at 5 start hotels as well as travel in rented luxury cards and private jets. Communications seized by New York police were in Russian, Arabic, Farsi and other languages, which had to be translated into English. According to New York police, the investigation was primarily centered on an Apple case because thieves can easily sell Apples products overseas.

Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney

Identity theft, credit card fraud and related crimes are serious crimes in New York, and you should hire a New York criminal defense attorney to represent you. The attorney will aggressively defend you by reviewing eyewitness identification statements made against you and raising evidentiary issues at hearings in order to get your charges reduced, attempt to obtain community service, probation or get your case dismissed.

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