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H.R. 1731 (108th): Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jul 15, 2004.

Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act - (Sec. 2) Amends the Federal criminal code to establish penalties for aggravated identity theft. Prescribes sentences, to be imposed in addition to the punishments provided for the related felonies, of: (1) two years' imprisonment for knowingly transferring, possessing, or using, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person during and in relation to specified felony violations (including theft of public property, theft by a bank officer or employee, theft from employee benefit plans, various fraud and immigration offenses, and false statements regarding Social Security and Medicare benefits); and (2) five years' imprisonment for knowingly taking such action with respect to a means of identification or a false identification document during and in relation to specified felony violations pertaining to terrorist acts. Prohibits a court from: (1) placing any person convicted of such a violation on probation; (2) reducing any sentence for the related felony to take into account the sentence imposed for such a violation; or (3) providing for concurrent terms of imprisonment for a violation of this Act and a violation under any other Act.

(Sec. 3) Expands the existing identify theft prohibition to: (1) cover possession of a means of identification of another with intent to commit specified unlawful activity; (2) increase penalties for violations; and (3) include acts of domestic terrorism within the scope of a prohibition against facilitating an act of international terrorism.

(Sec. 4) Modifies provisions regarding embezzlement and theft of public money, property, or records to provide for combining amounts from all the counts for which the defendant is convicted in a single case for purposes of determining which penalties apply.

(Sec. 5) Directs the U.S. Sentencing Commission to review and amend its guidelines and policy statements to ensure that the guideline offense levels and enhancements appropriately punish identity theft offenses involving an abuse of position.

(Sec. 6) Authorizes appropriations to the Department of Justice for the investigation and prosecution of identity theft and related credit card and other fraud cases constituting felonies.