ID Theft: Serious Charges That Must Be Taken Seriously

You might have noticed the recent articles about a Camp Fire USA official who pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft in a bank fraud case in Midland.

Michael Woodson Burney faces up to 30 years in prison on the bank fraud charge and a mandatory two years imprisonment on the aggravated ID theft charge.

According to the Odessa American, the indictment of Burney charged that he wrote checks to himself, signing the names of other Camp Fire USA officials to the checks.

The case points out the severe penalties people arrested in Texas for ID theft face if convicted.

What Is ID Theft?

Identity theft involves the fraudulent use, transfer, acquisition or possession of another person's personal information for the purpose of defrauding the person. "Personal information" includes the person's name, Social Security number, date of birth, government-issued ID numbers, biometric data, mother's maiden name, telecommunication ID information and electronic identification numbers.

Possible Penalties

Texas law escalates the charges based on the number of times the defendant is alleged to have used the stolen ID information:

  • If you use the information less than five times, you can be charged with a felony: for a state jail felony, you can face up to two years in jail
  • If you use the ID data from five to nine times, you can be charged with a third-degree felony: if convicted, you face a sentence ranging from two years in prison to 10 years
  • If the information is used from 10 to 49 times, you can face a second-degree felony: two years in prison up to 20 years
  • If the ID information is used 50 times or more, you can face a first-degree felony: that means a sentence ranging from five years to 99 years

Defending Your Freedom

Anyone facing identity theft allegations should refrain from discussing the charges with prosecutors until they've met with a Texas criminal defense attorney experienced in defending clients accused of ID theft.