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NY Senate Passes Bill To Toughen Identity Theft Law

The New York State Senate today passed legislation (S.1651), sponsored by Senator Stephen Saland (R-C-I, Poughkeepsie), that would toughen the state’s law against the crime of identity theft by expanding the types and amount of personal identification that would be needed to charge someone with identity theft, as well as increasing criminal penalties for the crime.

“This legislation builds on the success the identity theft law enacted several years ago,” Senator Saland said. “Tougher penalties and technical enhancements made to the identity theft law will enable prosecutors to better protect victims of this growing crime and provide for tougher punishment for criminals who steal people’s identity.”

“Identity theft continues to be the fastest-growing white collar crime in the United States,”  Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno said. “With an increase in technology and the dependence on identification numbers, we have to keep our laws up-to-date to address this serious crime that can ruin an innocent victims finances and credit.”

Under current law, a person has to unlawfully possess at least 250 pieces of personal identification to be charged with identity theft. This bill decreases that number to a much more reasonable ten pieces. In addition, the bill expands the list of personal identification information to include such things as an individual’s driver’s license number, social security number, Internet account number and taxpayer ID numbers. 

This legislation strengthens existing penalties for identity theft in the second degree to a class D felony, from a class E and identity theft in the first degree to a class C felony penalized by as much as 15 years in prison.

The bill was sent to the Assembly.

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