Fraudulent Use or Possession of Personal Identification Information


SHORSTEIN, LASNETSKI, & GIHON
helps people defend against
Fraudulent Use or Possession of Personal Identification Information
allegations.

Fraudulent Use or Possession of Personal Identification Information includes a vast amount of conduct, but most commonly involves allegations of credit card fraud or fraud involving people's social security numbers.  
What is Fraudulent Use or Possession of Personal Identification Information?

Fraudulent Use or Possession of Personal Identification Information is defined in Florida Statute Section 817.568(2).  In order to prove Fraudulent Use or Possession of Personal Identification Information, the State must prove:
  • You willfully and without authorization fraudulently used or possessed with intent to fraudulently use personal identification information concerning the victim, and
  • you did so without first obtaining consent of the victim.

What is "personal identification information?" 

"Personal identification information" means any name or number that may be used, alone or in conjunction with any other information, to identify a specific individual, including:
  • any name,
  • postal or electronic mail address,
  • telephone number,
  • social security number,
  • date of birth,
  • mother's maiden name,
  • official state or United States issued driver's license or identification number,
  • alien registration number,
  • government passport number
  • employer or taxpayer's identification number,
  • Medicaid or food stamp account number,
  • bank account number,
  • credit or debit card number or personal identification number or code assigned to the holder of a debit card by the issuer to permit authorized use of such card,
  • unique biometric data such as fingerprint, voice print, retina or iris image, or other unique physical representation,
  • unique electronic identification number,
  • address or routing code,
  • medical record,
  • telecommunication identifying information or access device, or
  • other number or information that can be used to access a personal's financial resources. 

What are the potential sentences for Fraudulent Use of Personal Identification Information?

*  If the value of the property or pecuniary benefit or injury or fraud is a certain amount or if there were a certain amount of victims involved, the penalty is enhanced.  

Less than $5000 value and less than 10 victims
Up to 5 years in prison

$5000 value or more or 10 or more victims
3 year minimum mandatory prison sentence up to 15 years in prison

$50,000 value or more or 20 or more victims, but less than 30 victims
5 year minimum mandatory prison sentence up to 30 years in prison

$100,000 Value or more or 30 victims or more
10 year minimum mandatory prison sentence up to 30 years in prison


What if I just had or used the personal identification information to harass someone I didn't like, but not for financial gain?

It is a separate crime to willfully and without authorization possess, use or attempt to use personal identification information concerning an individual without first obtaining that individual's consent and to do so for the purpose of harassing that person.  This crime is a First Degree Misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail.  

What if I used a public record to get the personal identification information?

It is an enhancement to to use a public record to facilitate or further the offense.  This means that if you were charged with First Degree Misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail, you would now be facing a Third Degree Felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, if you are convicted of using a public record.  An example would be for someone in the clerk's office to obtain people's social security numbers by accessing pubic records. 

First Degree Misdemeanor becomes Third Degree Felony
Up to 5 years in prison

Third Degree Felony becomes Second Degree Felony
Up to 15 years in prison

Second Degree Felony becomes First Degree Felony

Up to 30 years in prison

What if the victim was a minor or elderly person?

If the victim is younger than 18 years old or 60 years old or older, commits a Second Degree Felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, even if he or she were the only victim and the value was less than $5000. 

What if the victim is dead?

It is a Third Degree Felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison to commit Fraudulent Use of Personal Identification Information where the victim was deceased. 

The above mentioned sentences and minimum mandatory sentences apply for deceased victims if the value is $5000 or more or number of deceased victims is 10 or more. 

What if I made up the information and it doesn't belong to anyone?

It is a separate crime to willfully and fraudulently create or use, or possess with intent to fraudulently use, counterfeit or fictitious personal identification information concerning a fictitious individual, or concerning a real individual without first obtaining that real individual's consent, with intent to use such counterfeit or fictitious personal identification information for the purpose of committing or facilitating the commission of a fraud on another person.

This is a Third Degree Felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison. 

What if I'm charged with pretending to be someone from the bank or a police officer to obtain the personal identification information?

If you present yourself to be a law enforcement officer, an employee or representative of a bank, credit card company, credit counseling company, or credit reporting agency, or that you are seeking to assist the victim with a credit history problem, the maximum sentence will be enhanced. 

First Degree Misdemeanor becomes Third Degree Felony
Up to 5 years in prison

Third Degree Felony becomes Second Degree Felony
Up to 15 years in prison

Second Degree Felony becomes First Degree Felony

Up to 30 years in prison

First Degree Felony becomes Life Felony
Up to life in prison

Special Victims

It is Second Degree Felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison to fraudulently use the personal identification information of the following victims:
  • person who is 60 years old or older
  • disabled adult
  • public servant
  • veteran
  • first responder
  • employee of the State of Florida
  • employee of the Federal Government

What if I just possessed the personal identification information without intending to use it to defraud anybody?

Florida Statute Section 817.5685 makes it a crime to simply intentionally or knowingly possess, without authorization, the personal identification information of another person in any form, including but not limited to, mail, physical documents, identification cards, or information stored in digital form. 

If there were 4 or fewer victims, violation of this statute is punishable by up to 1 year in jail.

If there were 5 or more victims, violation of this statute is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

This statute does not apply to:

  • a parent or legal guardian of the victim, or
  • a legal guardian of the victim, or
  • employee of governmental agency possessing information in the normal course of business, or
  • a person engaged in business and possessing information in the normal course of business, or
  • a person who finds a card with personal information and promptly returns the card

It is an affirmative defense to possess the information obtained from a public forum or had a reasonable belief they were authorized by law or consent of the owner of the information.


What are possible defenses to Fraudulent Use of Personal Identification Information?

There are many different defenses to a Fraudulent Use of Personal Identification Information charge, but the most common is that there was no intent to defraud. Many of these cases involve the use of personal identification information of a family member, friend, roommate, or employee.  Many times, the listed victim claims the person didn't have their permission to use their information while the person accused claims they did.  A typical case is where one person uses another person's credit card and there is a dispute as to whether that person had authorization to make a specific purchase. 

Another common defense is the Statute of Limitations. The State must bring a Scheme to Defraud prosecution within 3 years of the act (or within 1 year after the victim becomes aware of the fraud, as long as prosecution is brought within 5 years). 

There are many fact specific defenses.  Give us a call so we can discuss possible defenses to your case. 


If you or a loved one has been arrested for or accused of
Fraudulent Use or Possession of Personal Identification Information,

Call Shorstein, Lasnetski & Gihon Now!

904-642-3332 (Jacksonville)
 
or

407-228-2019
(Orlando). 

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