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Public Safety Committee Passes Two Identity Theft Bills

Sacramento, CA — A package of bills introduced by Senator Chuck Poochigian dealing with identity theft is being heard in the Senate Public Safety Committee.

Two bills dealing with phishing and tracking identity theft on the California crime index, passed with a unanimous 4-0 vote Tuesday.

“California is in the midst of an identity theft epidemic. Law-abiding residents who are hit spend thousands of dollars cleaning up their credit and years clearing their name. As this 21st Century crime has become more prevalent, California´s laws have become obsolete and inadequate,” said Poochigian.

Two more bills will be taken up for a vote at the next committee hearing on April 25th. One will increase penalties for identity theft based on the number of victims. Under existing law, many thieves can only be charged with misdemeanors for possession or trafficking of identifying information, regardless of the amount.

The second makes it easier to prosecute a thief who is illegally using someone´s identity to commit a crime that results in their victim being charged and prosecuted for the crime. Under current law, if the victim is detained, subject to arrest, or jailed, the perpetrator cannot be charged with criminal identity theft because the victim was not fully prosecuted.

Written by Sabrina Sabbagh