South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Prosecution of Identity Fraud Has Multiple Possible Venues
Description Georgia high court held that the state constitution requires criminal acts to be prosecuted in the county where the act occurred. Since identity fraud can have an impact in more than one county, the crime may be prosecuted not just in the county where the theft of identify information occurred.
Topic Criminal Law
Key Words Identity Fraud; Prosecution; Venue
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Lloyd, who lives in Clayton County, Georgia, lost his wallet in Fulton County. Using information from the wallet, Mayze is accused of accessing Lloyd's credit history while in DeKalb County. Mayze was charged in Clayton County with two county of identity fraud in violation of Georgia criminal law. The venue of the prosecution was Clayton County based on Lloyd's residence. Mayze filed a demurrer to the indictment, asserting that it was unconstitutional to force him to defend himself in Clayton County. The trial judge sustained the demurrer; the state appealed.
Decision

Reversed. The state constitution provides that crimes should be prosecuted in the county where the crime was committed. That does not prevent the legislature to limit venue to the county where the accused committed the physical act, so long as venue is set in the county where a criminal act occurred. The crime of identity fraud is a continuing offense that extends into the county where the victim resides. Regardless of where the records were accessed, the use of the information obtained from the records impacts in the county were the victim lives.

Citation State v. Mayze , S.E.2d 836 (Sup. Ct., Ga., 2005)

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