As the holiday season approaches, people in Morris County probably recall how identity theft has been a big issue in prior holiday seasons. Whether it is cases of hacking big retailers or just cases where individuals had their personal information stolen, the attention of the general public — and police and prosecutors — is sure to be cases of identity theft in the next month or so.
Police in New Jersey have investigated what they describe as a widespread identity fraud ring, and on Nov. 17, they moved to arrest nine people on suspicion of fraud. A total of 20 people have been charged with identity theft crimes in the case. Eleven people were still at large as of Nov. 19.
Authorities reportedly began the investigation when New Jersey business owners complained that they were the victims of identity theft. The investigation lasted nearly one year and spanned two states and several federal and local law enforcement agencies. The operations of the identity fraud ring resulted in the theft of over $100,000 from people’s bank accounts, according to authorities.
The fraud ring alleged by authorities often has very complex structures, and the law of conspiracy and racketeering can also be complicated. It may be the case that people who should have no criminal liability under the law get roped into an investigation. Another problem is that much evidence may be provided by the testimony of informants. This testimony may be unreliable, and defense counsel often can point out the problematic aspects of such testimony to the jury.