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Connecticut identity theft crimes and punishment


Between 2008 and 2010, Connecticut lawmakers approved revisions to state laws dealing with stolen personal and financial information. New, harsher punishments were imposed for identity theft and related theft-by-fraud crimes.

Identity theft also was redefined as the intentional use of another person's identifying information, with or without the owner's permission, to obtain something of value. Earlier laws stated theft could occur only if the alleged criminal did not have permission to use identifying information. That could include an individual or mother's maiden name, birth date, biometric data and numbers associated with licenses, registrations, work, passports, Social Security, bank and credit card accounts, taxes and health insurance.

Identity theft is a felony in Connecticut, with the severity of charges dependent upon the value of the stolen amount and the victim's age. For instance, first-degree identity theft is a class B felony, with maximum penalties of a 20-year prison term and a $15,000 fine for stolen goods or services worth more than $10,000. If the victim is 60 or older, the same sentence may be given if the stolen amount is as low as $5,000.

The largest possible sentence for second-degree identity theft, a class C felony, is a term of 10 years and a $10,000 fine when stolen goods are valued at over $5,000 but under $10,000. There is no bottom limit for the same identity theft crime against a senior citizen. In other words, a defendant could receive the maximum sentence for any stolen amount -- even a very small amount, under $10,000.

Additional state laws forbid obtaining or trying to get identifying information by impersonation or misrepresentation. Possession of so-called access devices, like re-encoders used to commit identity theft, is also against the law.

Criminal defense attorneys make sure defendants understand the seriousness of the charges against them. Lawyers also work toward charge reductions and dismissals, negotiate plea bargains and attempt to alleviate defendant hardships.

Source: Connecticut Judicial Branch Law Libraries, "Recent Identity Theft Legislation" accessed Feb. 05, 2015