Federal “Aggravated Identity Theft” Law – 18 USC 1028(A)

July 27, 2019

Federal aggravated identity theft is charged under 18 United States Code section 1028A making it a crime to “knowingly, transfers, possesses, or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person” in relation or during a felony.

A common misconception is that the theft must be “aggravated” in order to warrant this charge. However, contrary to popular belief, it does not require anything more than simple identity theft. A conviction carries a mandatory sentence of two-years in federal prison, that will run consecutive with other charges. For instance, a person convicted of two charges of aggravated identity theft must be sentenced to four years in federal prison.[1]

Accordingly, federal prosecutors often charge aggravated identity theft in conjunction with other crimes as a bargaining chip to force a plea bargain and avoid the expense of a trial. For instance, prosecutors will agree to dismiss an aggravated identity theft count in exchange for a defendant’s agreement to plead guilty to another charge. This bargaining chip is often an incentive for a defendant to argue for a lesser sentence without the worry of receiving a consecutive two-year prison sentence.

Examples of 18 USC 1028A

  • Using your twin brother’s passport[2]
  • Knowingly using another person’s resident alien card[3]
  • Forging another person’s name[4]
  • Unlawfully using a deceased person’s credit card[5]
  • Using other person’s signature and name on a false loan application[6]
  • Using someone else’s ATM card to withdraw money from a machine.

Contact an Experienced Newport Beach Federal Criminal Attorney

If you have been charged or are under investigation for aggravated identity theft under 18 USC 1028A, then contact the Law Offices of John D. Rogers to schedule a free confidential consultation with an experienced Newport Beach federal criminal lawyer.




[1] See United States v. Hung Quoc Bui, 500 Fed.Appx. 658 (9th Cir. 2012) [Holding that imposing consecutive prison terms on two aggravated identity theft counts was appropriate].

[2] See U.S. v. Osuna-Alvarez, 788 F.3d 1183 (9th Cir. 2015).

[3] See U.S. v. Miranda-Lopez, 532 F.3d 1034 (9th Cir. 2008).

[4] See U.S. v. Blixt, 548 F.3d 882 (9th Cir. 2008).

[5] See U.S. Gaither, 423 Fed.Appx. 718 (9th Cir. 2011).

[6] See U.S. v. Sanchez, 475 Fed.Appx. 139 (9th Cir. 2012).

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