The FBI has taken charge of the national effort to investigate high-tech crimes like computer intrusions, online sexual exploitation and major fraud schemes through the Internet. Crimes like hacking, placing viruses, malware or spyware have been reported to cost billions of dollars every year in the money spent to repair computer systems that have been attacked. There are numerous crimes that can be carried out through the Internet, and these crimes are on the rise in our nation.
Most Common Internet Crimes
One of the most common types of Internet crime is identity theft, which involves stealing the personal information of another person for financial gain. Through the internet, one can empty another person's bank account, run up unauthorized credit card bills and wreak havoc on a person's life. The most common method for accomplishing these crimes is by creating a fake website or email that emulates a real website and tricks the victim into divulging personal information. Over 9.3 million Americans were the victims of identity theft in 2009.
Cyberstalking is another Internet crime on the rise that affects teenagers and young adults particularly. More than one million are stalked annually in the United States, and the average duration of this crime is two years. Females in the college ages of 18-29 tend to be targeted the most heavily, and this crime can lead to more serious offenses of domestic violence or murder.
Internet Scams are being created on a daily basis throughout our country, and these crimes typically prey on those who are financially desperate. The FBI carefully tracks these crimes and prosecutes offenders to the full extent of the law. These crimes fall under the classification of wire fraud, and the penalties for a convicted defendant can include up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to one million dollars. The penalties for internet fraud are more severe because of basic public policy concerns for the safety of the general public. The government is always trying to reassure the public that their investments, deposits and retirement accounts are safe.
Penalties for Internet Crimes
As mentioned above, the penalties for internet crimes often include jail time and costly fines. There are a wide range of penalties that will depend on a variety of factors such as the exact crime committed, the number of victims, the defendant's criminal record and the amount of money involved in the crime. If you have been accused of an internet crime, it is wise to seek counsel from a criminal defense lawyer who can analyze the information and evidence brought against you to determine what is at stake.
Applying Internet Crimes to Other Charges
In certain situations, charges related to an internet crime may be applied to other charges that were committed in relation to drug offenses,
theft crimes or white collar crimes. In other cases, the laws regarding internet crimes may not be up-to-date and you may face prosecution for something that does not specifically relate to your case. When an internet crime crosses state lines or national borders, the penalties become much more severe. Prosecutors often have difficulties tracing these crimes through other nations because of jurisdiction issues, and this can give your lawyer additional time to prepare your case. My firm is well-equipped to take on even the most challenging case, and I have handled thousands of criminal cases during the 24 years that I have practiced criminal law. Call today to learn more about how I can assist you.