Overview Of Identity Theft Crimes Under Maryland Law
Identity theft is a white collar crime that seems to occur more frequently with the rise of technology. With so much personal identifying information available online these days — particularly from a financial or medical standpoint — identity theft occurs on a regular basis in Maryland and across the United States. Accordingly, there are strict laws against and penalties for identity theft under Maryland law.
Obtaining Personal Identifying Information
Maryland Code of Criminal Law Section 8-301 prohibits obtaining any personal identifying information without consent. Under this section, it is unlawful to knowingly, willfully, and with fraudulent intent:
- Possess or obtain, or help someone else possess or obtain, any personal identifying information; and
- Use, sell, or transfer the personal identifying information for some benefit, credit, or other thing of value.
Assuming Another Person’s Identity
Section 8-301 also prohibits assuming the identity of another person. Under this section, it is illegal to knowingly and willfully assume a real or fictitious person’s identity in order to:
- Attempt to avoid apprehension, identification, or prosecution for a crime;
- Obtain a benefit, credit, good, service, or other thing of value in a fraudulent way;
- Access health information or health care in a fraudulent way; or
- Avoid payment of a financial or legal obligation in a fraudulent way.
Using a Re-Encoder to Access Information
Section 8-301 also prohibits using a re-encoder or similar device to access personal identifying information. Under this section, it is unlawful to knowingly, willfully, and with fraudulent intent:
- Use a re-encoder to transfer credit card or similar payment information onto a different device, without consent from the true owner; or
- Operate a skimming device to access, read, scan, obtain, memorize, or store credit card or similar payment information, without consent from the true owner.
Maryland Punishment for Identity Theft
The Maryland punishment for identity theft also appears under Section 8-301. This punishment can vary greatly based on the circumstances of the offense. But generally speaking, the penalty corresponds to the value of the benefit, credit, or other thing of value in question. If a person commits identity theft in Maryland with the intent of obtaining something of value worth:
- At least $100 but less than $1,500 — It is a misdemeanor offense with a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 12 months and criminal fines up to $500;
- At least $1,500 but less than $25,000 — It is a felony crime with a maximum penalty of imprisonment for five years and criminal fines up to $10,000;
- At least $25,000 but less than $100,000 — It is a felony crime with a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 10 years and criminal fines up to $15,000; or
- At least $100,000 — It is a felony crime with a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 20 years and criminal fines up to $25,000.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you need legal assistance with identity theft or other white collar crimes, contact the Bel Air criminal attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered. We are prepared to assist you throughout each step of your case.