Criminal Defense – Identiy Theft in New York: Prosecution in a County Where the Criminal Transaction Did not Take Place

You are charged in Manhattan with Identity Theft (Penal Law Sections 190.78, 190.79, and 190.80) or Unlawful Possession of Personal Identification Information (Penal Law 190.81, 190.82 and 190.83), but you reside in Brooklyn and the alleged criminal transactions occurred in the Bronx, White Plains and Yonkers. Well, how is the Manhattan (New York County) District Attorney’s Office prosecuting you for these crimes if you never stepped one foot in that jurisdiction? The answer, albeit not a pleasing one, is simple.

Criminal Procedure Law Section 20.40(4)(l) permits any county to prosecute an offense of this nature if any of the offense took place in that county regardless of whether the defendant was actually present there. Moreover, if the victim who suffered financial loss resided in that county at the time of the criminal transaction, then the county where the victim resided would also be able to prosecute a defendant even if the defendant was never present. Lastly, even if the victim suffered no loss, whatever county the victim resided in at the time his or her personal identifying information was used would also be a viable location to bring the criminal action against the defendant. For example, if a victim’s credit card is used online to purchase clothes from Bloomingdales in NY, the victim resided in the Bronx at the time his or her information was used, and the defendant used the information on his computer in Queens, each county would be able to prosecute the defendant for the crime of Identity Theft.

As a former prosecutor under Robert Morgenthau with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Jeremy Saland was one of the original prosecutors assigned to the Identity Theft Unit upon its creation and worked under a state grant to prosecute this crime. Due to the complexity of these crimes it is important to obtain counsel with significant real hands on experience in these areas of law and not merely someone who has limited involvement. It takes an aggressive and skilled attorney to find any possible issues relating to evidence and procedure that may assist you in getting the best possible disposition in this type of matter.

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