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Five Ohioans face identity theft charges

As our lives become more digitized, our personal information has become more valuable, requiring extensive protection. While it is nearly impossible to fully protect one's personal identification information, when his or her personal information is allegedly stolen and funds are accessed as a result, he or she, along with the prosecutor, may consider aggressively pursuing criminal charges. Those individuals who are at the receiving end of these charges can come face-to-face with the potential for serious penalties that can redefine their lives.

Five Ohioans may be in jeopardy of having their lives turned upside-down after being accused of participating in a large identity theft ring. According to reports, the alleged scheme, which ran from early 2014 to early 2016, involved stealing individuals' birthdates and social security numbers with the intent to fraudulently open up lines of credit in those individuals' names. Police allege that the accused individuals obtained and carefully studied credit reports so that they could answer any questions about their financial history when they opened up lines of credit. Reports indicated that the ring allegedly opened up 80 lines of credit, resulting in the theft of approximately $150,000.

If these individuals fail to aggressively defend themselves, they could be facing extensive penalties. The most serious, of course, is prison. Wire fraud, of which which many of the accused individuals are facing multiple counts, can carry up to 20 years in prison upon conviction. That is for a single count. These individuals are also facing charges for aggravated identity theft, which could result in an additional two years in prison for each count that results in a conviction.

Regardless of how damaging the evidence may seem in one of these cases, accused individuals have criminal defense options. Whether it is negotiating a plea bargain or taking the matter to trial in hopes of obtaining an acquittal, defendants need to know their options and how best to act on them. This is why many Ohioans who are facing white collar crime charges turn to experienced defense attorneys.

Source: WSYX/WTTE ABC 6, "Five central Ohio residents accused of running identity theft ring," Chad Conant, May 13, 2017

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