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Identity Theft: The Blue Collar White Collar Crime

When people think of white collar crimes, many imagine executive puppet masters running Ponzi schemes and performing other complex financial acrobatics to steal vast sums of money from a network of clients. Many different types of crimes, however, may be categorized as white collar crimes, including identity theft and related fraudulent transactions.

According to a 2007 report funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, most individuals convicted of identity theft come from working-class and middle-class backgrounds, and are primarily motivated by a “quick need for cash.” In many cases, elaborate planning and resources are unnecessary to initiate the conversion of information into money, as the requisite information, such as names, addresses, and account numbers, may be bought from someone else, taken from mailboxes or trashcans, or obtained from a from a friend or acquaintance.

In other situations, the means of gathering information are more sophisticated, such as hacking into corporate computers and databases, skimming, and using the Internet to trick people into giving their I.D. or account information. Sometimes, an employee who has access to social security numbers and/or credit card numbers may take information or add amounts and/or charges to receipts. Today, however, many people have the knowledge, technical skills, and web savvy to perform such “high-tech” operations.

Once information has been gathered, a variety of methods may be used to get cash and/or goods, or receive some other type of benefit from the information. Actions that may be charged as fraud in relation to an identity theft crime include:

  • Producing additional identity-related documents, such as a Texas driver’s license or I.D. card
  • Making fake checks
  • Acquiring new credit cards
  • Applying for and obtaining mortgages or other loans

Regardless of the extent of the charges, identity theft is taken very seriously by the federal government, even if the loss suffered by the alleged victim is relatively small. A person convicted of identity theft will likely go to jail based on that charge alone in addition to any punishment imposed for crimes that proceed from the identity theft.

Experienced White Collar Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you face charges involving identify theft or another type of fraud, strong criminal defense representation is essential to fight a conviction and minimize the likelihood of a potentially severe sentence. In Houston, contact McLemore, Reddell, Ardoin & Story, P.L.L.C. for a free consultation with a Texas defense attorney experienced in white collar criminal matters.