Identity Thieves Living High Life on Someone Else's Money
by Lewis & Laws
Identity Thieves Living High Life on Someone Else’s Money
According to the Bellevue Police, a pair of identity thieves were living high on someone else’s money: driving flashy cars, buying expensive jewelry, and taking up residence in a hotel. The alleged identity thieves, Donovan Park, 22, and Joshua Spaulding, 29, have been charged with 16 counts of Identity Theft. Park attempted to buy a Rolex watch on the stolen credit cards, but after trying two different cards with no success, he left the store. Five days after attempting to buy the watch, Park returned, attempting to “exchange” a Rolex watch he had successfully purchased from another jewelry store. The employees became suspicious and notified the police.
When a Bellevue detective spoke with Park, the young man agreed to allow the detective to search his car. After searching the vehicle, investigators found a device used to create credit cards and blank credit cards with account numbers on the back. The items inside the car eventually led investigators to the Bellevue Marriott Residence. Police concluded during the investigation that hundreds of thousands of dollars were charged on other people’s accounts. Park even spent more than $8,000 at Bellevue’s Envision Optometry, buying a dozen pairs of high end-end glasses. Detectives determined the stolen account numbers were purchased by Park and Spaulding on the dark web, using bitcoin.
Washington State Identity Theft
Identity theft in the state of Washington is a serious felony, which can result in years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. To be found guilty of identity theft, the prosecutor in the case must prove these two things:
- The defendant knowingly obtained, possessed, used or transferred some form of financial information or ID from another living or dead person, and
- The defendant did so with a clear intent to commit, aid in, or assist in a crime.
Identification or financial information used in identity theft offenses include names, addresses, driver’s license information, credit card numbers, and Social Security numbers.
Identity Theft in the First Degree is charged if the value of the money, goods, or other things of value is more than $1,500. If convicted, Identity Theft in the First Degree is punished by up to 10 years in prison, a maximum fine of $20,000, or both. If the value of the money, goods, or other things of value is less than $1,500, the crime is Identity Theft in the Second Degree and a Class C felony. If convicted of Second-Degree Identity Theft, the penalties include up to five years in prison, a maximum fine of $10,000, or both.
Legal Defenses to Charges of Identity Theft
If you have been charged with identity theft in the state of Washington, your Washington criminal defense attorney can raise certain legal defenses to your offense. The exact defense your attorney uses on your behalf depends on the specifics of your offense, but one of the most common defenses is showing that while you obtained another person’s identification information, you did so by accident and with no intent to commit a crime.
You must have an experienced Washington criminal defense attorney by your side who has extensive knowledge regarding identity theft in the state. Identity theft charges can be somewhat complex; your primary goal will be to avoid jail or prison time, and your Washington criminal defense attorney will work hard to reach that goal. You should never attempt to defend yourself after being charged with identity theft, as the outcome could be much less favorable than when you have an experienced attorney in your corner.
Getting Help From Seattle Criminal Defense Attorneys at Lewis & Laws, PLLC
If you are charged with identity theft, or any crime in Seattle, it is important to remain calm and contact an experienced Seattle criminal defense attorney immediately. Anything you say can–and will–be used against you in a court of law. Don’t speak to anyone without first speaking to us.