Identity theft can take many forms. It might involve abusing a person’s Social Security Number to apply for loans fraudulently. Maybe a devious individual could utilize the personal information of another to file a false tax return to steal the refund. Identity theft can also refer to attempts to obtain free medical care by posing as another person.
A person can also face identity theft charges if the theft forms the backbone of an even greater criminal operation. Such was the case of one Californian man, who has been convicted of identity theft for his involvement in a nationwide ticket resale scam.
The 48-year-old man admitted using email to steal credit card information from victims nationwide. He then created fake buyer accounts with the stolen payment card numbers to buy tickets to an upcoming Texas A&M football game, which he would put up again for sale on ticket resale sites.
Over 75 victims had their credit card and personal information stolen by the man.
Texas A&M discovered the scheme and moved to invalidate the tickets. But unwitting buyers had already purchased several of the fraudulently obtained tickets, losing money for the university.
A release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas noted that the man faces a mandatory sentence of two years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000.
Aggravated identity theft is a federal crime
Per federal rules, a person who commits a fraud offense by utilizing the identification of another person can be additionally charged with aggravated identity theft. In addition to any punishment the person may face for their specific fraud offense, the convicted must also face a two-year prison sentence.
Texas also punishes credit card fraud
Texas also has a law prohibiting persons from using the credit card information of other people without their consent. The penalties for fraudulent credit card use depend on the number of card information stolen. If less than five payment card details were stolen, a convicted person faces a state jail felony. But if more than 50 details were stolen – such as in the case above – the convicted faces a felony of the first degree. A first-degree felony can lead to life imprisonment or a term not exceeding 99 years.
Regardless of its form, identity theft is a severe offense at both the state and federal levels. Anybody convicted of the offense faces some of the harshest punishments.