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Identity Theft

New York Identity Theft Defense Lawyers Types of Identity Theft Offenses

Identity theft can easily be described as one of the world's fastest growing crimes. This occurs when an individual obtains a victim's personal information and uses that information for his or her benefit. New York defines identity theft broadly. Whether it is copying someone's signature on a check to steal some money, having someone's credit card information scribbled on a piece of paper or a sophisticated scam forging or re-encoding credit cards with stolen account numbers, identity theft comes in all forms and magnitudes.

Whether a skimmer is used to swipe information, an individual has counterfeit, stolen or fraudulently obtained credit cards, someone is using forged business checks, or someone who is arrested for shoplifting has a credit card numbered scribbled on a piece of paper in their pocket, the identity theft defense lawyers at our New York firm know that it is important to understand at what point the crime of identity theft has been committed. To assume another's identity, an individual must present himself as that other person, act as that other person or use personal identifying information.

How is "Personal Information" Defined?

The New York State legislature has further defined "personal information" as, among other things, one's name, social security number, debit card number and even merely the victim's mother's maiden name. Identity theft can range from an A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year jail to a D felony, which is punishable by up to seven years in state prison, depending on the value of the property stolen. You should consult an identity theft defense attorney in New York if you are facing this type of charge.

Many ID Theft Arrests Occur In Retail And Department Stores

Retail and department store chains can be sources of many identity theft cases and arrests. Employees who are in a position to obtain personal information from customers as well as the customers themselves can find themselves under the scrutiny of store security or law enforcement personnel.

When You Could Face Elevated Charges

It is important to note that prosecutors often have the ability to elevate the level of the charges when an individual commits identity theft along with another felony. For example, if an individual, without permission, signs the name of an account holder to a check and withdraws only $100, the offense is identity theft in the first degree.

While the amount is less than $2,000, as required by the statute for the first degree offense, signing another person's name is forgery in the second degree, which is also a D felony. Therefore, the forgery can be joined with the original identity theft charge and elevate it because of the provision in the statute that addresses whether the identity theft occurred in the furtherance of committing another felony. A New York identity theft defense attorney can advise you on whether an elevated charge may be brought against you.

Identity theft is often charged together with other crimes such as larceny, forgery, possession of a forged instrument or criminal possession of stolen property. Although Aggravated Identity Theft and Identity Theft in the First Degree, the two most serious forms of identity theft in New York, are "D" felonies, other charges that are often charged along with Identity Theft can be even more serious.


The lawyers at Tilem & Associates are experienced in representing clients in both State and Federal Courts who have been charged with a variety of Identity Theft and Credit Card fraud related charges. Mr. Tilem, as a former prosecutor, prosecuted all types of identity theft crimes and puts that knowledge and experience to work for his clients.