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Are punishments for white collar crimes overly severe?

 

Is technology changing the criminal justice system? When it comes to identity theft crimes, at least one New Jersey official would answer affirmatively. The official characterizes this type of crime as the fastest growing in the country.

The official was responding to the recent arrest of a New Jersey man who allegedly hacked into two municipal bank accounts and obtained their routing numbers. After breaching the accounts, the man reportedly made over $56,000 in purchases. 

The behavior came to officials’ attention after a city finance department worker noticed a series of suspicious withdrawals. Those purchases allowed local New Jersey police to track down the 30-year-old suspect and arrest him on 35 counts. The charges include theft of identity, theft by deception, unlawful transfer of funds, illegally accessing information, removing data, credit card theft and forgery. The man’s bail was set at $100,000. Since the defendant was unable to make that bail amount, he is being held in jail. 

Readers might question the high bail amount, considering that the alleged crime involved no weapons, no drugs and no physical violence. However, the defendant had a previous criminal record, including indictments for a 2005 forgery charge and a 2007 theft by deception charge. Even so, the high bail amount serves as an important reminder that white collar crimes such as fraud, embezzlement, computer crimes or identity theft can result in potentially serious consequences.

As with other types of criminal charges, even the accusation of a white collar offense can result in loss of employment and a ruined reputation. A conviction even ups the ante with potential jail time and fines. Consequently, an experienced criminal defense attorney will be needed in this situation to help the defendant achieve the best possible outcome.

Source: nj.com, “N.J. man stole more than $50K from Hoboken's bank accounts, police say,” Kathryn Brenzel, Aug. 26, 2015

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