Identity Theft is probably the fastest growing crime of the past few years, and this crime is now costing an estimated $1 billion a year. Police departments and other law enforcement agencies that would normally investigate these types of crimes have not kept up with the increases. For example, a recent article in the Dallas Morning News reports that there is only one detective in the Dallas Police Department that works on identity theft cases. Victims of this crime throughout the Dallas area have been frustrated that the police are not in a position to do more.
Prior to 1999, Texas did not have a penal code statute addressing this crime. It is now codified in section 32.51 of the Texas Penal Code, entitled Fraudulent Use or Possession of Identifying Information. In summary, it is a criminal offense to "... obtain, possess, transfer, or use identifying information of another person without the other person's consent and with intent to harm or defraud another."
This type of offense in Texas is considered a state jail felony. This statute has somewhat of a unique characteristic in that it also allows for additional prosecution under another law, if the conduct also constitutes an offense under any other law. Therefore, a perpetrator of this crime could very well face multiple charges stemming from the same criminal episode.
There are a number of pending bills designed to expand on the current statutes pertaining to this crime and addressing the protection of victims and consumers.
GARCIA INVESTIGATIONS has designed a series of investigative procedures to utilize in the investigation of identity theft cases with the goal of assisting our clients and law enforcement with the identity and prosecution of the perpetrators. Our approach to these types of investigations includes strategies that would be implemented in the investigation of complex organized crime cases and utilizing various computer databases and related resources to identify the thief. We rely on our former law enforcement officer experiences to gather all of the information and evidence so that the cases can be successfully prosecuted.
We also assist our clients by providing information to help them in clearing affected records, as well as protecting themselves after the fact, or proactively.