A call from a concerned citizen about suspicious men in a motel parking lot has led to the bust of a large forgery ring in Cullman, according to CullmanSense. The article states that police made contact with the suspects and believed that illegal drug-related activity was taking place in the motel room, which gave them probable cause to request a search warrant for the room. When they entered the room, they found forgery equipment that was allegedly being used to create counterfeit payroll checks.
Also found as a result of the search were 2.5 grams of methamphetamine, over 80 hypodermic syringes, multiple forged checks, credit card information, and a stolen vehicle. The four occupants of the motel room were arrested, including three men and one woman. The female suspect had been hiding under the bed during the police search, and initially provided law enforcement officials with false identifying information. Two of the suspects have previous criminal records, and police have notified their probation officers of this potential violation. In addition to identity theft charges, the suspects are facing a variety of other charges including possession of drug paraphernalia, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a forgery device, and promoting prison contraband.
Alabama Identity Theft Laws
Identity theft is a serious criminal charge in Alabama that is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and $30,000 in fines, depending on the circumstances of the actual crime. Under Alabama law §13A-8-192, identity theft occurs when:
A person commits the crime of identity theft if, without the authorization, consent, or permission of the victim, and with the intent to defraud for his or her own benefit or the benefit of a third person, he or she does any of the following:
- Obtains, records, or accesses identifying information that would assist in accessing financial resources, obtaining identification documents, or obtaining benefits of the victim.
- Obtains goods or services through the use of identifying information of the victim.
- Obtains identification documents in the victim’s name.
- Obtains employment through the use of identifying information for the victim.
Identity theft qualifies as a Class B felony in Alabama.
Identity theft may also be presumed in certain situations, specifically when trafficking in stolen identities is brought into play. When a person possesses five or more identifying documents of another person, or the identifying documents of five or more different people, they will be presumed to have such identifying documents in violation of Alabama law.
Legal Assistance with Identity Theft
We handle a variety of criminal charges for clients, and can use that experience to work with you. If you have been charged with identity theft, it is important that you speak with a criminal defense attorney that has experience defending against such charges in Alabama. You may be facing serious potential consequences if you are convicted, so choosing a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible is an important first step in establishing the most appropriate defense based on the circumstances of your case.