Georgia Criminal Defense Blog

The Differences Between Identity Fraud and Aggravated Identity Fraud

Posted by Richard Lawson | Feb 06, 2018 | 0 Comments

Yesterday, I wrote about an arrest of two people charged with fifteen counts of identity fraud in Hoschton, Georgia. As a result of the steady increase of identity theft and fraud in Georgia, I'd like to focus on the differences between identity fraud in Georgia and aggravated identity fraud in Georgia.

As always, let's look to Georgia Law.

O.C.G.A. §16-9-121 defines identity fraud as: “A person commits the offense of identity fraud when he or she willfully and fraudulently without authorization or consent, uses or possesses with intent to fraudulently use identifying information concerning a person, uses identifying information of an individual under 18 years old over whom he or she exercises custodial authority, uses or possesses with intent to fraudulently use identifying information concerning a deceased individual, creates, uses, or possesses with intent to fraudulently use any counterfeit or fictitious information concerning a fictitious person with intent to use such counterfeit of fictitious identification information for the purpose of committing or facilitating the commission of a crime or fraud on another person; or without authorization or consent, creates, uses, or possesses with intent to fraudulently use any counterfeit or fictitious identifying information for the purpose of committing or facilitating the commission of a crime or fraud on another person.”

The penalty is a felony and includes a prison sentence of anywhere from one to ten years, a fine up to $100,000, or both. A second identity fraud conviction consists of a penalty of three to fifteen years in prison, a fine up to $250,000, or both. Someone convicted of identity fraud may also be ordered to make restitution to the victim.

Attempting to commit identity fraud is also a crime. Georgia law criminalizes the attempting or conspiring to commit identity fraud. O.C.G.A. §16-9-12 defines attempting to commit identity fraud as: “It shall be unlawful for any person to attempt or conspire to commit any offense prohibited by this article. Any person convicted of a violation of this Code section shall be punished by imprisonment or community service, by a fine, or by both such punishments not to exceed the maximum punishment prescribed for the offense the commission of which was the object of the attempt or conspiracy.”

However, there are defenses to identity fraud in Georgia. These defenses include consent of the other party, lack of evidence tying the accused person to the fraudulent act, lawfully obtaining the information, or the information was used to obtain employment.

While using the information to obtain employment may be a defense to identity fraud (as employment is not mentioned anywhere in §16-9-121), the accused person will likely be charged with aggravated identity fraud instead.

O.C.G.A. §16-9-121.1 defines aggravated identity fraud as: “A person commits the offense of aggravated identity fraud when he or she willfully and fraudulently uses any counterfeit or fictitious identifying information concerning a real, fictitious, or deceased person with intent to use such counterfeit or fictitious identifying information for the purpose of obtaining employment.”

The penalty is a felony and includes a prison sentence of anywhere from one to fifteen years, a fine up to $250,000, or both. Just as with identity fraud, someone convicted of aggravated identity fraud may also be ordered to make restitution to the victim.

Both identity fraud and aggravated identity fraud crimes are difficult and complicated cases to defend because so much of the evidence is technical. If you or a loved one has been charged with identity fraud, you need a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney to prepare your best defense. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Richard Lawson has devoted his entire career to DUI Defense. He exclusively handles DUI Cases. As a former DUI Prosecutor he knows both sides of your case. Put his experience to work for you. You only have 30 days to protect your right to drive. Call now for immediate attention. We are available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.

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