When people think about the crime of identity theft, they often think of fleeting incidents where someone takes personal information from someone else without permission in order to unlawfully access money. These are certainly serious offenses for which someone could face criminal charges, but in some cases, the intentions of a suspected identity thief are less menacing.
For instance, a Florida man was recently arrested and is now facing identity theft charges after he assumed another man's identity 25 years ago. A decision that was allegedly prompted by a desire to avoid a divorce has evidently caught up with him.
According to news outlets, the man evidently assumed the identity of a deceased man in an effort to get away from his wife and family. He was able to secure false birth certificates and driver's licenses and then he got remarried, had a child, started new businesses, purchased property and became a well-known member of his community.
Everything came crashing down when the deceased man's nephew did some digging into his ancestry online only to discover his deceased uncle was apparently alive. He contacted the authorities who tracked down the man who had assumed the uncle's identity, charging him with identity theft. He could also face additional federal charges related to the various actions he carried out under the false identity.
This case can be a reminder of a few things. First, it was probably not this man's intention to hurt anyone with his actions, which is often the case with people who commit certain white collar crimes. Second, it reminds us that you cannot run from criminal charges; ultimately, they will likely catch up with you.
Finally, this situation was brought to light as a result of technology that wasn't even invented at the time the man decided to start his second life. This tells us that even if the tools to identify these crimes don't exist today, they might exist tomorrow.
If you are in a situation involving identity theft, it may not be long until you wind up in the same boat as this man. Should this happen, and even before this happens, consulting an attorney can prove to be a wise decision to assess your legal options.