Identity theft in Minnesota is referred to as an act in which another fraudulently steals money or obtains other benefits by stealing the identity of another. The Minnesota identity theft statutes state that anyone who possesses, transfers, or uses the identity of another with the intent to aid, commit, or abet any unlawful activity, is an identity thief. The maximum penalty allowed depends on the amount of financial gain they obtained during the theft. In addition to the fines and the penalties that are imposed by the judge, restitution must be made to the identity theft victim.
Penalties for Minnesota Identity Theft
The penalties of identity theft in Minnesota range from a misdemeanor to a felony that carries a 20-year sentence. Whatever losses were incurred by the victim will determine exactly what penalty must be paid by the identity thief. The number of direct victims involved also determines the penalty.
As for how loss is defined, it is defined as the expenses incurred on the part of the victim that lead to the value obtained by the offender. The monetary loss threshold will determine the penalty. For example, a loss of $250 carries a maximum penalty of a misdemeanor. If the amount of the loss is more than $35,000, then a 20-year felony is the penalty. Nonfinancial crimes that do not have any financial loss and involves only one victim will be punished as a misdemeanor as well.
If there is more than one victim involved, even if there is no monetary loss to the victims, the penalty will be raised to a felony. The personal property of the offender is subject to forfeiture so that it can be used to pay back the victim. The property may be seized immediately.
Signs of Minnesota Identity Theft
If you suspect that you are the victim of identity theft, there are some signs that you need to look out for:
- Unknown charges on your credit card statements
- Money taken out of your bank account
- Phone calls or emails thanking you for a purchase
- New open accounts and/or credit inquiries that you didn’t do appearing on your credit report
If you see any of these signs, then you may be a victim and will need legal representation to assist you.
Been Charged with Identity Theft?
If you have been charged with identity theft in Minnesota, you will need representation to defend you in the case. There are a number of reasons in which a person may be accused of identity theft and a number of reasons in which a person may be innocent of such a claim. Even if there is guilt, there are areas of the law in Minnesota that will enable a powerful defense. Only a Minnesota criminal defense attorney is going to have that kind of knowledge of Minnesota state law.
Nevertheless, whether you have been a victim or you have been accused, identity theft is a serious crime in the eyes of the law and yields strict punishment when it occurs.