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Thinking Differently About Filing Identity Theft Incidents

NCJ Number
THE POLICE CHIEF Volume: 74 Issue: 5 Dated: May 2007 Pages: 56-58
Jonathan Fairlough
Date Published
May 2007
3 pages
This article describes an 11-step process for identity theft organization designed to assist law enforcement officers achieve satisfactory case outcomes.
The 11-step process involves: (1) understanding the filing process; (2) making an appointment with a filing District Attorney (DA); (3) avoiding the “paper brick” file; (4) preparing the case in layers; (5) preparing a short prosecution summary; (6) making a witness list; (7) making a restitution list; (8) asking the DA to issue a subpoena duces tecum (SDT) at the time of filing; (9) preparing for bail hearings; (10) calling the preliminary hearing DA; and (11) forming a task force with the DA. Each step is explained in turn. The author beings by briefly describing the filing process, which begins with an initial review by the filing deputy DAs, who make various determinations about the case, such as how many counts will be charged and whether the suspect will be charged with a felony, among other things. Officers are advised to submit well-organized files that are sorted and separated with tabs and to prepare their cases in layers since there are usually more than one victim and more than one crime involved in identity theft cases. Successful prosecutions also require effective working partnerships between the investigating officer and the prosecutor. One page descriptions of the case should be prepared for prosecutors who are usually carrying heavy caseloads and appreciate summarized and well-organized materials. Officers are also advised to help the DA prepare a good witness list, which should include a one-line description of the testimony the witness will provide. Once a case has been thoroughly investigated, officers should make a separate restitution list of what each victim is owed and should keep it filed separately from the case file. The author urges law enforcement officers and DA personnel to consider the benefits of forming a collaborative task force to combat identity theft.