ALBANY- Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced his support for a bill that will strengthen penalties for identity theft crimes. The bill was introduced by Assembly Member Jonathan Bing inthe New York State Assembly and Senator Eric T. Schneiderman in the New York State Senate, where it was voted out of the Senate Codes committee.
“The Internet has become the crime scene of the 21st Century,” said District Attorney Vance. “Our new Cybercrimes & Identity Theft Bureau is on the cutting edge, but our ability to prosecute has been hampered by laws that lag far behind. I urge State lawmakers to swiftly pass this important legislation before more New Yorkers fall victim to cybercrimes.”
Senator Schneiderman said: “The identity theft crisis continues to plague New York State, and the economic recession has only accelerated the problem. Unfortunately, New York’s laws governing identity theft have failed to keep pace with this technology-driven crime. In order to better protect New Yorkers and punish those who steal people’s identities as a means of illegally taking money, goods and services, this bill gives law enforcement the right framework to prosecute these 21st century crimes. We must act now. The victims of identity theft cannot afford to wait.”
Assembly Member Bing said: “I am proud to join District Attorney Vance in efforts to combat identity theft. This legislation is in much-needed measure to prevent identity theft crimes by increasing penalties and expanding our ability to catch offenders.”
In Manhattanalone, approximately 8,140 Identity Theft arrests were made between January 1, 2008 and March 31, 2010.
The proposed legislation enhances the prosecution of Identity Theftand related crimes through a number of approaches. The bill makes the most serious forms of identity theft class B and class C felonies and creates tougher penalties for crimes that result in large-scale financial impact, victimize multiple individuals, or target the elderly. Of particular significance in Manhattan, the bill enhances the jurisdiction of the Identity Theft Statute to better enable prosecution of Identity Theft and related crimes that cross county lines.
In addition, the bill:
Identity theftcrimes are prosecuted by District Attorney Vance’s new Cybercrimes and Identity Theft Bureau, under the leadership of Bureau Chief David Szuchman.