New law helps to prosecute identity theft |

New law helps to prosecute identity theft

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. A new identity theft law that came out of the Colorado Legislature last summer clears up “piecemeal” bits of criminal law and provides a more comprehensive approach to prosecute identity theft activities, Deputy District Attorney James Leuthauser said.”It basically has cleaned up a lot of loose ends and made things more comprehensive,” he said, adding that the new law moves away from a “shotgun approach” of prosecuting smaller more fragmented offenses toward the larger picture of what somebody is doing when they engage in identity theft activities.Some activities that in the past were a series of misdemeanors could now be a felony.”If in fact somebody has a stolen credit card but they don’t use it, in the past it simply would have been theft of a credit card,” he said. Now it could be a felony.The crime, C.R.S. 18-5-902, is a class 4 felony called simply ‘identity theft,’ with a presumptive sentencing range of prison for two to six years, Leuthauser said. It includes using someone’s personal identifying information or financial identifying information to obtain cash, credit, services, property or any other thing of value. It includes a slew of similar activities including possessing someone’s info with the intent to do those things.Typically the greatest extent of what has happened in Garfield County and Glenwood Springs are cases of people abusing someone else’s credit or checking information, although some cases originate on the Internet and there have been instances where other countries are involved, according to Leuthauser and Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson.”We haven’t had a lot of people simply sneaking around gathering personal information,” Leuthauser said.Wilson said bankers and creditors often reimburse clients whose accounts have been abused, so it’s difficult to follow through with an investigation because once the person has been reimbursed they typically lose interest in the case and want to move on, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.”We haven’t run into what you would call a true identity theft,” Wilson said.Contact Pete Fowler: 945-8515, ext. 16611 pfowler@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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