March 15, By Hannah Wulkan
A local state senator is working to make it easier to prosecute organized crime figures who are involved in identity theft and cybercrime.
State Senator Jose Peralta announced Monday that the State Senate had passed his bill to make it easier for prosecutors to combat cyber crime and identity theft under an existing law that fights organized crime.
“Organized crime and gangs are becoming more involved in computer crimes, identity theft and money laundering. This legislation will provide a commonsense tool for prosecutors, and it will bring the statute into the modern era,” Peralta said in a statement. “Years ago, stolen credit card information was traded in the dark, but now that information is up for sale on websites.”
The new legislation expands the definition of criminal acts under the existing New York Enterprise Corruption Statute to include cyber crime and identity theft. Currently, prosecutors must charge gang members with two separate indictments, one for charges related to larceny, scheming or defrauding, and a second for computer and identity theft crimes.
The passage of Peralta’s bill will allow for the cyber crimes to be included under the same indictment.
The new legislation comes on the heels of a huge identity theft ring bust in Jackson Heights, charging 30 people for stealing identities and credit card information.
According to the FBI, gangs are increasingly becoming more involved in white-collar crimes like identity theft and online crime, and about 7 percent of American adults over the age of 16 have been victims of identity theft.
“Cybercrime is on the rise, but this bill will allow law enforcement to take gangs down more efficiently,” Peralta said. “The law has not kept up with technology and we must act to fight against these crimes more effectively.”
A matching bill must pass in the New York State Assembly in order for the bill to become law.