Identity Theft


At Ashley D. Adams, PLC, we have a well-established track record of success that can make a difference, whether in defending charges of white collar crime, health care fraud, financial fraud, general fraud charges, other criminal or civil matters, or representing our clients during a government investigation.



If you have been arrested for identity theft, Criminal Defense Lawyer Ashley Adams is prepared to defend your rights. Arizona has consistently been the state with the highest number of identity theft complaints registered with the Federal Trade Commission. Special task forces have been organized to arrest anyone suspected of stealing another person’s identity. Prosecutors are taking these crimes seriously and are aggressively seeking convictions. The punishment for identity theft can result in a prison term from 5 to 30 years, as well as community service, probation and significant fines. If you or a loved one has been arrested, or is under investigation for identity fraud, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney. At the Law Offices of Ashley Adams, our experienced identity theft attorneys can protect your rights in both state and federal court. It is essential that you contact Ashley Adams as soon as possible. There may be aspects of your case that can be challenged in court, and you will need the help of one of our skilled attorneys to provide you with a strong, effective defense.


Identity theft occurs when someone uses someone else’s personal identifying information without that person’s permission to commit fraud or other crimes. Approximately 9 million people in the United States have their identities stolen every year. A victim’s personal or financial identifying information can include any of the following:

  • Social Security numbers
  • Credit history
  • PIN numbers
  • Credit card or check card numbers
  • Birth certificates
  • Driver’s license information
  • Internet identification information 

Once someone has another’s personal information, it can be used in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Credit card fraud: using the victim’s account to run up charges or opening phony accounts in the victim’s name.
  • Utilities fraud: opening phone or wireless accounts in the victim’s name, running up charges on existing accounts or obtaining utility services
  • Financial fraud: creation of counterfeit checks, opening fraudulent bank accounts in the victim’s name, withdrawal of account funds, securing loans in the victim’s name.
  • Government documents fraud: using the victim’s information to get a fraudulent driver’s license or ID, using the victim’s Social Security number to get government benefits illegally.
  • Other fraud: use of the victim’s information to get jobs, rentals, medical services, or any other number of benefits.


Under Arizona statutes, taking the identity of another person with the intent to use it for an unlawful purpose is a Class 4 felony with a 2 ½ year presumptive prison term. Two additional identity theft offenses have been established:

  • Aggravated identity theft: taking the identity of five or more persons (or entities), or by taking the identity of another person and causing economic loss of $3,000 or more. This offense is a Class 3 felony, with a 3 ½ year presumptive prison term.
  • Trafficking in the identity of another person: a person traffics in the identity of another person by knowingly selling or transferring any personal identifying information without the victim’s consent, for any unlawful purpose or with an intent to cause a loss. This offense is a Class 2 felony, with a 5 year presumptive prison term.

Depending upon the circumstances, a person may violate federal and/or state law. For example, use of the Internet in identity theft usually crosses state lines and could be charged as a federal crime. Federal sentences after conviction could range from 5 to 30 years in federal prison. A fine may also be imposed and the defendant is required to surrender any personal property used, or was intended to be used, to commit the crime. If you have been accused or arrested for identity theft, you may face harsh prosecution in state or federal court. Our attorneys will work hard to provide you with the best possible defense. Many times mitigating factors exist (such as drug or alcohol addiction, illegal immigration status, or psychological issues) that will allow negotiation with the prosecutor for lesser charges. In these cases, the state may opt to get you help instead of pronouncing ineffective punishment. Contact Ashley Adams today via this website or via phone at (480) 219-1366 for a case evaluation.