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Identity theft and false returns carry serious consequences

Did you know that in 2014, the average sentence for an identity theft conviction rose from 34 months to 48 months? Did you also know that the incarceration rate for such crimes also rose between 2013 and 2014 by 7.1 percent? These increases occurred because the federal government is taking a tougher stance on identity theft, a white collar crime that experts say affects thousands of Americans each year.

The reason for tougher enforcement of the law is because, as the chief of the IRS-Criminal Investigation explains, the federal government wants to "send a warning to criminals" that they can face serious prosecution and even steeper penalties if they choose to partake in criminal activities. Some say that the increase in consequences better fits the crime, which can impact identity theft victims years after the initial crime has been committed.

It's worth pointing out though to our Missouri readers that tougher sentences also put more emphasis on getting an attorney immediately after being accused of committing a crime. If you didn't know that federal laws had changed regarding identity theft sentencing, you're not alone. Some changes to the law are not well advertised by the government, which can catch people off guard when facing prosecution.

Good lawyers, such as the ones that can be found here at Harper, Evans, Wade & Netemeyer, stay on top of the law though, meaning if you obtain their services right away after being accused of a crime, you have a better chance of protecting your rights and knowing what consequences you could face. This may give you the edge you need to argue your case in court or even get a lower sentence in negotiations later on.

Source: Accounting Today, "IRS Steps up Prosecutions for Identity Theft," Michael Cohn, March 3, 2015

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