Common Defenses for Identity Theft Cases in NYC

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Common Defenses for Identity Theft Cases in NYC


A recent article in The New York Times tells the tale of a woman who used identity theft to rent luxury apartments for NYC street gangs. Police claim the suspect used falsified tax returns, bank statements, driver’s licenses, and social security numbers to rent the apartments.

Most identity theft cases don’t involve apartments for criminal organizations, of course. Often, they involve attempts to obtain fraudulent loans or other services.

These crimes can be charged either as state or federal crimes.  Sometimes, the people charged with identity theft are the actual victims of the crime. 

When that happens, there are a few avenues your criminal defense lawyer can take. 

False Accusations 

One way we can defend this type of case is to prove the allegations against you are false. For example, we can find evidence that you are the original holder of the identity in question, and that someone else has in fact stolen your information.

Lack of Intent

Identity theft is one of those crimes requiring that a measure of intent be present before a crime is committed. Under Penal Law 190, you are guilty of identity theft if you “knowingly, and with intent to defraud, assume the identity of another person” by presenting yourself as that person. 

If you did not intend to defraud anyone and did not intend to commit identity theft then you did not commit the crime. You could accidentally receive someone else’s identity information, for example, with no intent to commit a crime. 

Improper Search

If the police violated your rights while investigating the case, then we can use that fact to suppress evidence. If we are able to suppress enough evidence in this fashion, then there may not be enough left to use against you. 


Sometimes you have permission to use another person’s identity. For example, if your significant other hands you a debit card and sends you to the store to buy ice cream and you sign their name, then you can’t be convicted of identity theft. 

Be careful here. If you buy anything other than the items, the other person sent you to buy you could still be accused of fraud. In addition, in certain circumstances this defense can devolve into a scenario where it’s their word against yours. 

Get Expert Help Today

Identity theft is complex, and it’s impossible to cover every scenario that might arise in your specific case in one blog post.

If you or a loved one is in trouble, don’t hesitate. Contact our law firm to schedule a case review.

See also:

The 5 Forms of Credit Card Fraud You Could Be Committing 

How We Defend Computer Crime Charges 

5 Ways to Tank Your Criminal Case 

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