South-Western Legal Studies in Business

State Identity Theft Law Does Not Conflict with Federal Identity Theft Law
Description

Georgia high court upheld a conviction for violation of state identify theft law, ruling that federal identity theft law did not prohibit state laws from addressing such matters.

Topic Criminal Law
Key Words

Identity Theft, State Law, Federal Law, Due Process

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

Hernandez, an illegal immigrant, misappropriated the social security number of Smith and used the number to obtain a driverís license in Smithís name, and then got a job using Smithís name, which resulted in income being reported to the IRS in Smithís name on which $12,000 in back taxes were due. Hernandez was convicted under a Georgia identity theft statute. He appealed, contending the state law was vague about how identity theft occurred and conflicted with federal law that dealt with similar issues, and so violated due process guarantees of the Constitution.

Decision

Affirmed. The identity theft statute is not unconstitutionally vague, so did not violate due process. It explicitly prohibits a person from improperly accessing anotherís account for financial purposes, which is what Hernandez did by reporting Smithís social security number to the IRS as his own. The federal laws concerning identity theft do not prohibit state laws concerning such theft.

Citation

Hernandez v. State, 639 S.E.2d 473 (Sup. Ct., Ga., 2007)

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