Tech crimes are growing throughout the United States as the use of online services continues to expand. In April 2015, a 14-year old middle school student in Holiday, Florida, was charged with a felony after he used an administrator password to log into a teacher’s computer. Other cases have been filed in the state against criminals who use fraudulent means to obtain funds from unsuspecting citizens. Here are three tech crimes that could result in felony charges.
In Florida, cyberbullying is covered under the same laws as bullying. Anyone who is guilty of willfully, maliciously or repeatedly harassing someone online may be charged with a misdemeanor in the state of Florida. However, if the person who is cyberbullying makes a credible threat to the victim, they may be charged with a felony. In 2013, two 14-year-old girls were charged with aggravated stalking, a felony, when a classmate jumped to her death after being bullied by the two. Charges were later dropped in that case, but the law was changed to increase cyberstalking penalties if a credible threat was made.
Computer hacking is another tech crime that has become more prevalent. Hackers have accessed computer networks to post nude photos of celebrities stolen from private accounts, changed grades in school computers and stolen intellectual property from businesses. In Florida, anyone who willfully, knowingly and without authorization discloses or takes data may be charged with a felony. In most cases, the charge is a third degree felony, but if the offense is designed to defraud or obtain property, it may be classified as a felony in the second degree. Also, a person may be charged with an offense against a computer system as well as unauthorized access, which is also a felony. In the case of the teen in Holiday, he accessed a teacher’s computer using the teacher’s password and changed the wallpaper to an inappropriate image.
Using someone else’s identity is a felony offense in Florida. Still, in 2014, Florida had the highest occurrence of identity theft in the United States according to the Federal Trade Commission. Recently, most of the thefts were discovered when taxpayers could not file their income tax electronically because an identity thief had already filed in their name. Most of these fraudulent returns were filed online through computerized tax services. According to state statutes, identity theft is a second degree felony, punishable by a mandatory minimum three-year sentence.
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If you or a loved one has been charged with a committing a crime, including a tech crime, contact the Khonsari Law Group today for a case evaluation. We are committed to protecting your rights and will fight vigorously for your freedom.