With the state of the economy as it is and people getting laid off or losing their jobs, it is no surprise that economic crimes are on the rise. What is important to know however is that District Attorneys and Judges are aware of this and are handing out tough penalties to people charge with economic crimes like Fraud, Forgery, Possession of a Forged Instrument (usually a check), Theft, and the more recently popular ID Theft.
While Theft crimes are nothing new to the criminal justice system, Theft from Employers and ID Theft are two crimes that have seen an increase due to the more common use of the internet, and these crimes are being dealt with very harshly by the government. The reason is because of the longstanding damage and repercussions to the victims that each crime generates. The analysis most Judges and District Attorneys make with a Theft from Employer crime is that the fundamental trust ingrained in an employer-employee relationship is undermined when an employee takes advantage of his or her position with a company. The U.S. economy is in a state of recession and money taken from corporate and small business entities not only cost the business hardship but also yield some unintended collateral consequences such as down-sizing in staff to account for the money lost, skipping of holiday bonuses to other non-involved employees, or simply raising their prices to the consumer.
The same manner in which an employer-employee theft can damage a company's business aspirations, so do ID Theft cases severely impact the regular every day hard working Joe. Credit Scores largely determine whether a person can get a loan, rent an apartment, buy a house, and in some cases, get a good job. When a person's ID is stolen and large amounts of money are spent in that person's name, and then not repaid as the unsuspecting victim starts getting collection letters at their home, their credit scores begin to plummet. The obvious and usually devastating effects of this chain of events is something that District Attorneys are very keenly aware of and often they might require that the defendant pay back a sum of, or the entire amount owed before they consider offering a no-jail deal to the defendant. In fact, the state legislator has taken matters into their own hands in this regard and mandated that a second offense of ID Theft carries mandatory prison time of two to twelve years (2-12).
The bottom line is that people charged with economic crimes need to take their charges very seriously. These types of charges are very real and can carry serious jail or prison time penalties. It is advisable that whether clients are charged with misdemeanor or felony economic crimes, they would be smart to retain counsel to defend their rights in the present day and volatile economic crisis.