If an individual is charged with identity theft in Minnesota, this crime is punishable under state and federal law as both a state and federal crime. Prior to 1998, identity theft was treated as a state crime, in cases known as “false personation.” Today, these crimes are also federal crimes that carry more serious legal repercussions.
What Is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is a crime that involves one person taking the personal identifying details that belong to another individual, without that individual’s consent. The information stolen in cases of identity theft could include a variety of identifying data such as social security numbers and birth dates.
Additionally, identity theft could entail the selling, transfer, or use of the information taken, which offenders may use to impersonate victims. Identity thieves often use the information stolen to commit financial fraud, from taking loans in another person’s name to committing different types of forgery.
Today, identity theft often takes place online, where millions of people store personal identifying information that can fall into the wrong hands through keylogging, data breaches, and other methods.
What Are the Penalties in Minnesota?
In Minnesota, the definition of identity theft is any crime committed involving the possession, transfer, or use of identifying information that doesn’t belong to the offender, with the intention of committing, aiding, or abetting any type of criminal activity. The penalties for identity theft crimes in Minnesota will depend on several factors, including the amount of money lost as a result of the theft. In addition to a possible prison sentence of up to 10 years for more serious identity theft crimes, victims may be able to seek restitution.
Federal Penalties for Identity Theft
The penalties for federal identity theft crimes can be severe. If convicted, perpetrators face up to 15 years in prison along with hefty fines. Oftentimes, identity theft crimes are connected to other types of federal crimes that could lead to additional prison sentences and fines. When investigating these types of crimes, multiple federal agencies may be involved, including the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Postal Inspection Service, the FBI, or the Secret Service.
Both on the state and federal levels, identity theft is a serious crime that can lead to decades in prison and steep financial penalties for individuals if convicted.