Until very recently, it was relatively easy to abandon your true identity and become someone else.
Moreover, even “stealing” someone else’s identity rarely resulted in harm to the victim of the theft because nothing was connected. With the advent of the internet and the computer age, however, that all began to change.
Today, it is exponentially harder to protect against identity theft now that all our vital information can be accessed by the click of a button.
In an effort to discourage would-be criminals, both the federal and state governments are continually increasing the penalties for computer-related crimes, including identity theft.
In Nebraska, the offense of identity theft is defined in Nebraska Revised Statute 28-639, which reads, in pertinent part, as follows:
“A person commits the crime of identity theft if he or she knowingly takes, purchases, manufactures, records, possesses, or uses any personal identifying information or entity identifying information of another person or entity without the consent of that other person or entity or creates personal identifying information for a fictional person or entity, with the intent to obtain or use the other person’s or entity’s identity for any unlawful purpose or to cause loss to a person or entity whether or not the person or entity actually suffers any economic loss as a result of the offense, or with the intent to obtain or continue employment or with the intent to gain a pecuniary benefit for himself, herself, or another.”
How Serious Is the Crime of Identity Theft in Nebraska?
Identity theft can be a misdemeanor or a felony in the State of Nebraska. Whether a defendant is charged with a misdemeanor or felony depends on the value of
- If the value of the credit, money, goods, services, or other thing of value that was gained or was attempted to be gained was less than $500 the offense is a Class II misdemeanor. Any second or subsequent conviction is a Class I misdemeanor and any third or subsequent conviction is a Class IV felony.
- If the value of the credit, money, goods, services, or other thing of value that was gained or was attempted to be gained was more than $500 but less than $1,500 the offense is a Class I misdemeanor. Any second or subsequent conviction is a Class IV felony.
- If the value of the credit, money, goods, services, or other thing of value that was gained or was attempted to be gained was more than $1,500 but less than $5,000 the offense is a Class IV felony. Any second or subsequent conviction is a Class III felony.
- If the value of the credit, money, goods, services, or other thing of value that was gained or was attempted to be gained was more than $5,000 the offense is a Class IIA felony. Any second or subsequent conviction is a Class II felony.
In 1998, the United States federal government passed the “Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act,” making it a federal crime for a person who “knowingly transfers or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of Federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable State or local law.”
That law was followed up by the Theft Penalty Enhancement Act in 2004 which increased penalties for “aggravated” identity theft.
The 2004 law requires courts to impose additional sentences of 2 years for general offenses and 5 years for terrorism-related offenses if the identity theft meets the criteria for an “aggravated” theft.
Contact a Nebraska Theft Crimes Attorney at Petersen Law Office
If you have been charged with identity theft in Nebraska, of by the U.S. government, consult with an experienced Nebraska theft crime attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.