Justus Hughley has been arrested on charges of computer theft for setting up a fraudulent GoFundMe account for a Pike County football player who died after going into cardiac arrest from a brain injury during a game last month.
According to reports, Hughley used a bank account in another state in an attempt to transfer the money from the GoFundMe to his own personal bank account. People who were sending monetary donations believed that they were sending money to the grieving family.
As a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney, I will deep dive into the law behind computer theft in our state and the consequences faced if convicted.
Computer Theft in Georgia
Computer Theft in Georgia is defined by the Georgia Code as:
A person will be guilty of computer theft when they use a computer or computer network with knowledge that such use is without authority and with the intention of:
- Taking or appropriating any property of another, whether or not with the intention of depriving the owner of possession;
- Obtaining property by any deceitful means or artful practice; or
- Converting property to such person's use in violation of an agreement or other known legal obligation to make a specified application or disposition of such property. O.C.G.A. §16-9-93.
Computer theft is treated much like other theft crimes such as Theft by Taking in Georgia or Theft by Receiving in Georgia. The classification of the offense depends on the value of the property stolen. If the property is over $500, then the computer theft will be treated as a felony offense. If the property is under $500, then the computer theft will be treated as a misdemeanor.
No monetary amounts have been released related to this story, however, if the amount is over $500, Hughley will be facing a felony conviction, a fine up to $50,000 and up to 15 years in prison.
Wrongful arrests and accusations do happen however, and as a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I always point out that there are Georgia Criminal Defenses that can apply in the case of a wrongful accusation.
Some of the defenses that work in the wrongful accusation of computer theft include a lack of evidence, consent, or that the purpose of the action was not to deprive another of possession.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for committing a crime in Georgia, contact our offices today.