Identity Theft Bill Passes House and Senate Committees

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By: Whitney Ray
April 4, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - A strange item to bring to school; a bag full of debit cards and different IDs.

“A six year old came to school during show-and-tell with a Ziploc baggie full of 52 debit cards and 52 different names,” said Captain Robert Ura with Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

Thursday Ura told lawmakers the parents of the kid weren’t breaking the law.

“We were not able to charge the parents because as the law stands now the mere possession of 52 debt cards is not illegal. We have to show intent.”

The captain was testifying in support of a bill to criminalize the possession of other people’s IDs, banking numbers and tax information without consent.

If the bill becomes law a person caught with the personal information of up to four people could be charged with a misdemeanor. If they have five or more IDs, then they could be charged with a felony.

The bill makes exceptions for employers, parents and anyone else who has a right to have the information.

“This gives law enforcement the tools that they desperately need to stop identity theft in Florida,” said the bill’s sponsor, Representative Larry Ahern.

Ahern filed the legislation after a police chief showed him thousands of IDs discovered on shady characters.

“Beyond surprised, shocked, when he told me and showed me things, pictures of all the IDs they had found on people either during a traffic stop or drug bust,” said Ahern.

The bill quickly passed a House committee Thursday morning. An hour later a senate committee OKed the bill. The bill took off in the Senate after the sponsor watched a news report about the problems facing police dealing with ID thieves. As of today it’s passed a committee in both chambers and is on a fast track to reach the floor before the end of session.

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