Identity Theft in Minnesota

Identity Theft in MinnesotaIdentity theft charges are becoming more prevalent in state and federal courts in Minnesota. If you find yourself facing identity theft charges, it is incumbent upon you to hire experienced and aggressive Minnesota identity theft attorneys to fight on your behalf. With nearly 30 years of combined experience, the attorneys at North Star Criminal Defense are the lawyers you need on your side during this stressful time.

What is Identity Theft?

Minnesota state law defines identity theft as any “person who transfers, possesses, or uses an identity that is not the person’s own, with the intent to commit, aid, or abet any unlawful activity.” Although you may think unlawful activity is self-explanatory, it is actually defined and more restrictive than you probably think. Unlawful activity is defined to include: (1) any felony violations in this state, any other state, or any felony violation of federal law; and (2) any non-felony violation in this state or another state that involves theft, theft by swindle, forgery, fraud, or giving false information to a public official. That means that any other non-felony unlawful activity is not sufficient for purposes of the State proving its case.

In addition to this broad definition, the following two acts are also considered criminal identity theft:

  • Any person who, with intent to obtain the identity of another, uses a false pretense in an e-mail to another person or in a Web page, electronic communication, advertisement, or any other communication on the Internet; and
  • Any person who uses a scanning device or re-encoder without permission of the cardholder of the card from which the information is being scanned or re-encoded, with the intent to commit, aid, or abet any unlawful activity (as defined above).

Criminal Consequences for Identity Theft –

The sentence imposed will depend upon the number of victims and the amount of money stolen. If there is only one victim and the amount stolen is less than $250, it is a misdemeanor crime. And if the money stolen totals $250-$500, it is a gross misdemeanor. For any identity theft case involving two or more victims, or the stolen amount totals more than $500, it is a felony with consequences ranging from 5 years in prison along with a maximum fine of $10,000 to 20 years in prison and a max fine of $100,000.

In addition, the defendant will likely be ordered to pay restitution to the victim(s) for the amount stolen. But, even if the amount stolen is less, the minimum restitution ordered will be $1,000.

It is worth noting that the State can and will aggregate the amount stolen and/or the number of victims over a period of six months. This means that the multiple acts will be counted together when determining how many victims there are and how much money was stolen. The result often leads to felony charges on what would otherwise be a single, misdemeanor violation.

Like every other theft, common defenses exist, but must be personalized to each client’s case. North Star Criminal Defense prides itself on building a personalized legal strategy for each client. And given the nuance associated with proving an identity theft case, you must get a diligent, thoughtful, and aggressive identity theft lawyer on your side. Contact us today.