What Are the Criminal Penalties for Using Someone Else’s Identification?
Using a fake ID is often associated with teenagers looking to drink. Of course, it is against the law. And you can be charged with a third-degree felony in Florida if you get caught.
Even worse is using someone else’s identification to commit fraud. Depending on the circumstances, this can bring the full weight of the federal government upon you. For example, using someone else’s Social Security number to open a bank account is classified as “aggravated identity theft” under federal law and can lead to substantial prison time.
Honduran National Faces 2 Years for Using Someone Else’s Social Security Number
Here in Florida, we often see federal prosecutions for aggravated identity theft in connection with immigration. Just recently, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa announced it reached a plea agreement with a man charged with using another person’s ID to circumvent the federal government’s E-verify system. This system helps employers confirm the eligibility of employees to work in the United States.
In June 2021, a federal grand jury indicted the defendant in this case on three charges: aggravated identity theft, false representation of a Social Security Number, and false claim of United States citizenship. The indictment alleged the defendant, a citizen of Honduras, knowingly possessed and used the name and Social Security Number of another person and used that information to fill out an I9 form used in connection with the E-Verify system. That is to say, the defendant–who was not authorized to legally work in the United States–used the identification information of this other person, who was authorized, to fill out an I9 form used by the E-Verify system.
Under the plea agreement, the defendant entered a guilty plea to the sole charge of aggravated identity theft. In exchange, the U.S. Attorney agreed to dismiss the other two counts of the indictment. The U.S. Attorney’s Office noted the defendant faces up to 2 years in federal prison for the aggravated identity theft. A federal judge will impose a final sentence, however, after considering various pre-sentencing reports.
How Far Can Prosecutors Go in Charging Identity Theft?
Federal prosecutors often add identity theft charges to bulk up their cases. Indeed, this practice reached a point where the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in to impose some limits. Last June, the Court held In Dubin v. United States that the use of a false identity had to be “at the crux of what makes the underlying offense criminal” rather than incidental to some other crime. In Dubin, prosecutors argued that a man who overbilled Medicaid for patient care committed aggravated identity theft because he used his patient’s ID numbers on the false bills. The Court said that in that case, the crime was “inflating the value of services” provided; the misuse of the patients’ identification was “ancillary” and not a separate crime.
If you are facing any type of fraud charges, it is essential that you seek out legal advice and representation from a qualified Orlando federal crimes lawyer. Contact the Joshi Law Firm, PA, today to schedule a free consultation.