Understanding identity theft charges in Pennsylvania

Understanding identity theft charges in Pennsylvania

| Feb 10, 2021 | Criminal Defense

A conviction for identity theft can have serious repercussions in Pennsylvania. Depending on the amount of resulting loss and other factors, the state may charge this crime as either a misdemeanor or felony.

Review Pennsylvania’s categorization of identity theft offenses and learn more about the potential legal penalties.

Defining identity theft

Any use of another person’s identifying information without that person’s consent constitutes identity theft in Pennsylvania. The law includes crimes committed after taking someone’s Social Security number or credit card information online, over the phone or simply on a discarded piece of mail.

Understanding possible penalties

Penalties for an identity theft conviction vary depending on the value of the person’s loss. Pennsylvania categorizes this offense as a first-degree misdemeanor for loss of $2,000 or less and as a third-degree felony for loss of $2,000 or more.

A misdemeanor conviction can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. For felony identity theft, a convicted person could receive up to seven years in prison as well as fines.

In addition, the judge may increase the sentence by one degree when the offense affected a person who is disabled or older than 60. Increased charges may also apply when the offender acted as part of a conspiracy to commit identity theft.

The court can also order restitution for the amount of the victim’s loss, court fees and other costs associated with identity theft. Some identity theft cases result in prosecution by the attorney general or even federal charges, most commonly for large-value incidents that cross state lines.