Identity theft is a serious offense, punishable by law in the state of Louisiana, that can earn a perpetrator a felony sentence of at least one year in prison. While there are a multitude of laws and regulations with regards to identity theft, it is the severity of the crime that determines the time period of the jail sentence.
To date, there have been several cases reported in Louisiana involving identity theft. One of the more famous ones was when a former Comcast employee stole and sold personal information of more than 3000 customers to subcontractors in Louisiana. Who doesn’t remember the infamous Herman Frazier who led to all these original subscribers facing hundreds of dollars of charges, until the case of identity theft and conspiracy was discovered.
What do Louisiana Laws Offer To Safeguard You Against Identity Theft?
Louisiana Law Statute on Identity Theft – 14.67.16 makes it illegal to either intentionally possess or use any personal details that belong to another person. It is especially true if the intent is to use this information to secure money, credit, goods, and/or services. Also, the term of imprisonment and/or fine is determined by several things: how much money was stolen, was the crime committed against someone under the age of 17, or was it committed against someone over the age of 60? The answers to these questions decide the level of punishment for the offender.
Committing a theft that totals less than $300 earns one a 6-month sentence, along with a fine of $500. If the crime has been done to a senior citizen or a child, the punishment is raised to a year-long prison term. Stealing between $300 and $500 earns a 5-year sentence and $3,000 fine. When someone steals somewhere between $500 and $1000, it equates to a maximum sentence of five years with an associated fine of $5,000 fine. A criminal is given the maximum sentence of 10 years, if the stolen amount is above $1,000, the penalty is a ten-year maximum sentence, along with a fine of $10,000.
As much as the Internet has been a boon to our society, it has also been a bane to global security, and Louisiana is no exception. The Anti-Phishing Act, La. R.S. § 51:2021, et seq, makes it a crime for anyone in Louisiana to use a web page, email, or any online opportunity to unlawfully access personal details. It is not uncommon to have Internet users report some stranger sending them emails with the sole intention of obtaining their personal information, such as full name, address, and/or social security number, and using it to steal their identity. We don’t want to relive what happened a few years ago, when Ta’sha Thomas, a public health employee of Ascension Parish Health Unit, along with three others obtained more than 400 social security numbers and stole over $464,000by filing fraudulent tax returns.
The Anti-Phishing Act empowers the victims of phishing to sue the wrongdoers for up to 3 times the amount of the damages incurred. $5,000 is the minimum amount that shall be received, per every violation. If an Internet provider has been falsely named in connection to these crimes, they can sue the perpetrators as well, and have them pay up to $100,000 in damages.
The Louisiana Database Security Breach Notification Law, La. R.S. § 51:3074, is another safeguard put in place by the Louisiana state legislature to help in case it is believed that personal data of any kind has been breached. The law makes it mandatory for the person, or more typically, the company, to notify all parties involved in such breach. After fulfilling this legal obligation, they must act swiftly to restore the data system in order to ensure such attempts aren’t made again.
If you are a victim of identity theft, what should you do?
While Ta’sha Thomas rightfully earned several charges of aggravated identity theft, and secured herself a sentence of 3 years in a correctional facility, we would rather these crimes never happened in the first place. Nevertheless, you should be cautious at all times.
But, in case you ever suspect that your name or any personal details have been used by another, you must inform your local authorities and file a police report, at once. This will enable the authorities to launch an investigation to determine if such a crime has taken place. You shall receive a copy of the report which you can use for your personal records, such as showing the other members of law enforcement or the credit reporting agencies.
Contact Us Today
Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law offers a free initial consultation to discuss your case. The first consultation can be in person or it can be virtual, on the Internet. Call Gaynell Williams today at (504) 302-2462 for a free consultation as soon as possible. We will work around your schedule. New Orleans lawyers Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law have offices in Gretna and Downtown New Orleans by appointment only.
This information has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorney in connection with any specific situation under Louisiana law and the applicable state or local laws that may affect your legal rights.
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