In recent years, multiple federal agencies have expressed a commitment to targeting so-called cybercriminals, and a wide variety of alleged crimes committed via the internet can be federally prosecuted. “Cybercrimes” can involve any one of a number of alleged violations, and criminal charges could affect individuals or entire companies.
The nature of federal charges can be extremely overwhelming for the average person, and the criminal penalties may be steep for certain violations. While state law in Texas certainly prohibits a number of criminal actions on the internet, cyber crimes are commonly prosecuted at the federal level because the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has jurisdiction over the internet and federal offenses are commonly deemed to have crossed state lines.
If you or your loved one were recently arrested for an alleged federal internet crime in Dallas, Garland, Irving, or some other nearby community in Dallas County, it will be important for you to get a criminal defense attorney on your side right away. Do not wait to reach out to the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy.
Our firm will be unwavering in our commitment to helping you achieve the most desirable outcome to your case and we will be with you the entire time so you never have to deal with anything on your own. You can have us review your case and give you answers to any questions you might have when you call (972) 233-5700 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.
One of the most common kinds of internet crimes is identity theft, which is criminalized under 18 U.S. Code § 1028, or fraud and related activity in connection with identification documents, authentication features, and information. 18 U.S. Code § 1028(a)(7) specifically states that any person who “knowingly transfers, possesses, or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, or in connection with, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of Federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable State or local law” commits an offense.
Federal prosecutors work with federal investigative agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Secret Service, and the United States Postal Inspection Service to prosecute identity theft and fraud cases. It should also be noted that 18 U.S. Code § 1028A is the federal law relating to aggravated identity theft
Under 18 U.S. Code § 1028A(a), a person commits aggravated identity theft if they transfer, possess, or use, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person during and in relation to any felony violation enumerated in subsection (c), which includes a felony violation of:
- section 641 (relating to the theft of public money, property, or rewards ), section 656 (relating to theft, embezzlement, or misapplication by bank officer or employee), or section 664 (relating to theft from employee benefit plans);
- section 911 (relating to false personation of citizenship);
- section 922(a)(6) (relating to false statements in connection with the acquisition of a firearm);
- any provision contained in this chapter (relating to fraud and false statements), other than this section or section 1028(a)(7);
- any provision contained in chapter 63 (relating to mail, bank, and wire fraud);
- any provision contained in chapter 69 (relating to nationality and citizenship);
- any provision contained in chapter 75 (relating to passports and visas);
- section 523 of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (15 U.S.C. 6823) (relating to obtaining customer information by false pretenses);
- section 243 or 266 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1253 and 1306) (relating to willfully failing to leave the United States after deportation and creating a counterfeit alien registration card);
- any provision contained in chapter 8 of title II of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1321 et seq.) (relating to various immigration offenses); or
- section 208, 811, 1107(b), 1128B(a), or 1632 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 408, 1011, 1307(b), 1320a–7b(a), and 1383a) (relating to false statements relating to programs under the Act).
It is important to note that 18 U.S. Code § 1028 prohibits many other acts in addition to identity theft. Identification fraud is also among prohibited actions, as 18 U.S. Code § 1028 also states that a person commits an offense if they:
- knowingly and without lawful authority produces an identification document, authentication feature, or a false identification document;
- knowingly transfers an identification document, authentication feature, or a false identification document knowing that such document or feature was stolen or produced without lawful authority;
- knowingly possesses with intent to use unlawfully or transfer unlawfully five or more identification documents (other than those issued lawfully for the use of the possessor), authentication features, or false identification documents;
- knowingly possesses an identification document (other than one issued lawfully for the use of the possessor), authentication feature, or a false identification document, with the intent such document or feature be used to defraud the United States;
- knowingly produces, transfers, or possesses a document-making implement or authentication feature with the intent such document-making implement or authentication feature will be used in the production of a false identification document or another document-making implement or authentication feature which will be so used;
- knowingly possesses an identification document or authentication feature that is or appears to be an identification document or authentication feature of the United States or a sponsoring entity of an event designated as a special event of national significance which is stolen or produced without lawful authority knowing that such document or feature was stolen or produced without such authority;
- knowingly traffics in false or actual authentication features for use in false identification documents, document-making implements, or means of identification;
Additional internet crimes commonly prosecuted by federal agencies may include credit card fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1029), computer fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1030), mail fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1341), wire fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1343), or financial institution fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1344).
Violations of 18 U.S. Code § 1028 are punishable by a fine and up to 15 years in prison if the offense is the production or transfer of an identification document, authentication feature, or false identification document that is or appears to be an identification document or authentication feature issued by or under the authority of the United States; or a birth certificate, or a driver’s license or personal identification card; the production or transfer of more than five identification documents, authentication features, or false identification documents; an offense under paragraph (5) of such subsection; or an offense under paragraph (7) of such subsection that involves the transfer, possession, or use of 1 or more means of identification if, as a result of the offense, any individual committing the offense obtains anything of value aggregating $1,000 or more during any 1-year period.
A violation is punishable by a fine and up to five years in prison if the offense is any other production, transfer, or use of a means of identification, an identification document, authentication feature, or a false identification document; or an offense under paragraph (3) or (7) of such subsection. An offense is punishable by a fine and up to 20 years in prison if the offense is committed to facilitating a drug trafficking crime; in connection with a crime of violence; or after a prior conviction under this section becomes final. A violation is punishable by a fine and up to 30 years in prison if the offense is committed to facilitating an act of domestic terrorism or an act of international terrorism.
Credit card fraud crimes under 18 U.S.C. § 1029 are generally punishable by fines and up to 20 years in prison. Computer fraud crimes under 18 U.S.C. § 1030 are punishable by fines and up to 10 years in prison when a violation does not occur after a conviction for another offense under this section but are punishable by fines and up to 20 years in prison when they do involve convictions for other offenses under this section.
Mail fraud violations under 18 U.S.C. § 1341 and wire fraud violations under 18 U.S.C. § 1343 are punishable by fines and up to 20 years in prison, but a violation in relation to, or involving any benefit authorized, transported, transmitted, transferred, disbursed, or paid in connection with, a presidentially declared major disaster or emergency, or affecting a financial institution, can result in fines of up to $1 million and up to 30 years in prison. Financial institution fraud under 18 U.S.C. § 1344 can also result in fines of up to $1 million and up to 30 years in prison.
Internet Crime Complaint Center(IC3) | Home Page — You can file a complaint with the IC3 if you believe you have been the victim of an Internet crime or if you want to file on behalf of another person you believe has been such a victim. Learn more about the details that will be asked to be included in your complaint. You can also find answers to many other frequently asked questions.
Cyber Crime | FBI – FBI.gov — Learn more about protecting yourself online on this section of the FBI website. You can understand common crimes and risks online and learn how to file a report with the IC3 or contact your FBI Field Office. Also, learn more about the FBI’s Cyber Strategy.
Find a Federal Internet Crimes Attorney | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
Were you arrested for a federal internet crime in Dallas County? You need to take the criminal charges very seriously and cannot delay in seeking legal representation.
Any person facing federal charges for an internet crime should seek out the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy. Call (972) 233-5700 or contact us online to have our firm take a long look at your case and give you a full evaluation of the case during a free consultation.