Wisconsin Identity Theft Attorneys
Falsely posing as another person is not a minor offence. Identity theft is a criminal act. Yearly, more than 11 million people in America become victims of identity theft. It continues to be the fastest growing crime in the country.
Do not take your identity theft charges lightly, as they may result in years of imprisonment, high restitution and lasting marks on your criminal record. Our criminal defense attorneys at Eisenberg Law Offices, based in Madison, will carefully review the details of your case and help you decide how best to legally proceed.
Identity Theft Defined
Identity theft is a criminal act in which one person wrongfully obtains another’s personal information with the intent to commit fraud or other illegal activities. The following are the most common types of identity theft:
- New account fraud is the misuse of another person’s credit to open new accounts, such as cell phone or credit card accounts.
- Account takeover fraud involves acquiring products and services by direct use of another person’s existing accounts or extracting funds from those accounts.
- Medical identity theft occurs when a person uses another’s name and/or insurance information to obtain medical services or goods.
- Criminal identity theft happens when a person in the act of crime or upon arrest identifies himself as another person.
- Business or commercial identity theft entails using an entity’s name for acquiring credit or wrongfully billing clients for products and services.
- Identity cloning may include all the previously mentioned identity thefts. In this case, the thief is purposefully living and functioning as another person. This type of identity theft mostly occurs when a person is running from the law or evading obligations like child support.
Eisenberg Law Offices criminal defense attorneys have worked on a wide variety of identity theft cases and have the required knowledge and experience to represent you in court. We are well-versed in Wisconsin laws pertaining to identity theft and can assure you that our professional criminal lawyers will not disappoint you.
Identity Theft in Wisconsin
Every state in the US has its own laws on identity theft. According to Wisconsin law (Wis. Stat. § 943.201), it is unlawful to make use of another person’s personal information for:
- obtaining credit, money, goods, services, employment, or any other thing of value or benefit;
- avoiding civil or criminal process or penalty;
- harming the reputation, property, person or estate of the individual.
This law defines the personal information of an individual as follows:
- name, address or telephone number;
- driver’s license number;
- social security number;
- employer, employee number, or place of employment;
- taxpayer ID number;
- DNA profile;
- mother’s maiden name;
- depository account number, credit card number, ATM card password, telephone service identifier, or any other account number, password or electronic identifier that can be used to obtain money, goods, services, an account transfer, or anything else of value or benefit;
- Fingerprint, voiceprint, retina iris image, or any other unique physical characteristic.
In Wisconsin, depending on the circumstances of the case, identity theft can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony. Simple possession of another person’s identifying information can be charged as a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to nine months of imprisonment and $1,000 in fines. Other identity thefts can be classified as Class H felonies, with potential punishments of up to six years in jail and $10,000 in fines. In recent years, identity theft violators in Wisconsin have been receiving severe penalties. Since personal information can easily be acquired through the internet and the number of reported identity theft cases is on the rise, prosecutors can be strict, even with first time offenders. If you are being investigated or are facing identity theft/fraud charges in Wisconsin and need an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you, turn to Eisenberg Law Offices for your legal needs. We will review your case, help you to understand the penalties you may face and suggest the best course of action for your particular situation.