IDENTITY THEFT & FRAUD UNIT
Fraud, against both government and individuals, has proven to be a pervasive challenge difficult to eradicate. While some scams are as simple as charging victims for work never done, others are more elaborate, and often involve falsification of identities or outright identity theft.
To supplement its efforts in combating fraud, the City Attorney's Office established a prosecutorial unit to focus exclusively on Identity Theft and related frauds.
Specific areas of prosecution within the Identity Theft and Fraud Unit include:
- Identity Theft
- Counterfeit Currency
- Piracy/Intellectual Property Prosecution
- Elder Financial Abuse
- Financial Institution (bank) Fraud
- Government Benefit (SSA) Fraud
- Government Employee (federal and local) Fraud
- Wage and Hour Violations
- Real Property (refinance, advance fee, squatting/trespass) Fraud
- Healthcare Fraud
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration Regulatory Violations
- Food Stamp Violations
- Unauthorized Practice of Law (bankruptcy and immigration)
The Identity Theft and Fraud Unit employs a program of Prosecution, Prevention, Education, Legislation and Collaboration to combat these crimes and is at the forefront of an unprecedented partnership with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. By expanding partnerships with other government agencies, financial institutions and others, City prosecutors seek to dramatically reduce the opportunities for making use of stolen information. The program includes an education campaign for consumers and resources for identity theft victims as well as proposing legislation calling for enhanced penalties for those convicted on identity theft charges under certain circumstances.
City Attorney-Sponsored Legislation – Fraudulent Identification Documents
AB 1069 (Montanez) made it a crime to possess fraudulent document-making devices and strengthens law enforcement’s capabilities to combat the growing practice of producing and using fraudulent documents.
City Attorney Sponsored Legislation – Identity Theft
AB 424 (Calderon) (Co-Sponsored with the Attorney General) expanded the definition of a “person” under existing identity theft law by including businesses. This bill curbs the ability of criminals to steal the identity of legitimate business entities, which poses a serious problem for the victim and the business industry.