Whether you’re a nurse, a dentist, or a brain surgeon, you ought to be aware that reports have come in from across the nation concerning the theft of doctors’ identities for the purposes of filing fraudulent tax returns. Even the Unites States Secret Service have become involved in the case as illegal returns have come flooding in from the Internal Revenue Service after filing in April. According to officials, there are doctors from 49 states who have alerted law enforcement officials about this particular crime.
Identity theft is nothing new to the U.S.; a 2012 report from the Bureau of Justice lists identity theft as a growing concern for police. 2 years ago, there were about 16.6 million people (that’s 7% of the population of the nation over the age of 16) who claimed to be victims of identity theft.
In the state of California, the prevalence of identity theft crimes is even higher than the national average, making it a focus for law enforcement officials. Any time one person uses another’s identity or personal information in a manner that is illegal or fraudulent, the crime of identity theft has been committed (CA Penal Code 530.5). California identity theft charges are what is known as a ‘wobbler,’ meaning that it is up to the prosecution to determine whether they will consider it a misdemeanor or a felony.
If you are convicted of a felony identity theft charge, you may face a $10,000 fine and 3 years in state prison; a misdemeanor conviction will get you a $1,000 fine and 1 year in county. However, you may also be brought up on federal charges, which could result in a whopping 30 years in a federal detention facility.