Understanding Identity Theft & Identity Trafficking Under Arizona Law
Identity theft occurs when someone without consent takes or uses another person’s personally identifying information or financial account information for any unlawful purpose. An identity theft scheme may include being issues credit cards, getting loans, making purchases, rending an apartment, obtaining medical services, re-routing mail, someone writing checks using another’s name or financial account information, or even impersonating another person during an encounter with law enforcement.
What activity can constitute identity theft is vast, and there are multiple Arizona statues that cover identity theft crimes.
Identity Theft Under Arizona Law
In Arizona, “A person commits taking the identity of another person or entity if the person knowingly takes, purchases, manufactures, records, possesses or uses any personal identifying information or entity identifying information of another person or entity, including a real or fictitious person or entity, without the consent of that other person or entity, with the intent to obtain or use the other person’s or entity’s identity for any unlawful purpose or to cause loss to a person or entity whether or not the person or entity actually suffers any economic loss as a result of the offense, or with the intent to obtain or continue employment.” A.R.S. §13-2008(A).
Under this statute it is not necessary that the person whose identity is taken actually suffer any economic loss as a result of the taking. A person can be convicted of taking the identity of another person even if that other person is not harmed.
Taking the identity of another person or entity in Arizona is a class 4 felony. A.R.S. §13-2008(E). A Class 4 felony carries a term of imprisonment for 1 to 3.75 years depending on the facts of the case.
Identity Trafficking Under Arizona Law
Allegations of identity trafficking are even more serious than allegations of taking the identity of another person, and can carry a significantly lengthier prison sentence.
In Arizona, “A person commits trafficking in the identity of another person or entity if the person knowingly sells, transfers or transmits any personal identifying information or entity identifying information of another person or entity, including a real or fictitious person or entity, without the consent of the other person or entity for any unlawful purpose or to cause loss to the person or entity whether or not the other person or entity actually suffers any economic loss, or allowing another person to obtain or continue employment.” A.R.S. § 13-2010(A).
Similarly to the Arizona statute prohibiting identity theft, under this statute it is not necessary that the person whose identity is trafficked (sold) actually suffer any economic loss. A person may be convicted of identity trafficking even if no economic harm comes to the people whose identities were sold.
Trafficking in the identity of another person or entity in Arizona is a class 2 felony. A.R.S. § 13-2010(C). Incarceration for a class 2 felony ranges from 3 to 12.5 years, with a presumptive sentence of 5 years. A.R.S. § 13-702.
Arizona Authorities Aggressively Pursue Suspected Identity Theft and Trafficking
In 2017 the Federal Trade Commission received 371,061 reports of identity theft from Arizonans. In response to the growing instances of suspected identity theft, special task forces have been organized to arrest anyone suspected of taking another person’s identity. Prosecutors are aggressively seeking convictions in identity theft and identity trafficking cases.
Conviction for identity theft related crimes can result in a lengthy prison sentence, significant fines, probation after prison, and other penalties. If you are under investigation for suspected identity theft or trafficking crimes, or if criminal charges have been filed, it is critical that you consult with a white collar criminal defense attorney knowledgeable in identity theft cases.
The attorneys at Ashley D. Adams, PLC handles state criminal cases throughout Arizona and federal criminal cases throughout the United States, including Arizona, Oklahoma, Utah, and California.