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New Jersey woman charged with identify theft after Facebook fiasco


What might have been an act done out of frustration or anger has resulted in identity theft charges for a New Jersey woman. She is accused of using the popular online social networking site Facebook to create an account under her ex-boyfriend's name.

This particular case raises interesting questions about the use of the Internet and social networking sites to commit crimes. Currently New Jersey doesn't have any laws that address this issue. But with the rapidly growing use of these types of websites, should lawmakers begin to incorporate social networking sites into legislation?

The woman had created the Facebook account in her ex-boyfriends name in order to make him look bad. It doesn't appear that she intended to steal his identity, but simply posted some statements on his wall in his voice. She likely never imagined that she would face criminal charges as a result of her actions.

Though there have been no cases in the past that have involved the use of social networking sites, prosecutors moved forward on the basis that private individuals should be protected from harassment and defamation, no matter how the statements were made. If the case moves forward, it could set precedent for future incidents that occur solely over the Internet.

Even though a fourth-degree identity theft charge may not seem as serious as other white collar crimes, there are still a number of consequences that this woman could be facing if she is convicted. Most notably is the fact that she could spend the next 18 months in jail. Her life could change, all from one angry moment of posing as her ex-boyfriend on Facebook.

No matter what the charge, anyone accused of a crime should know how to protect their rights. This can be especially vital to protecting one's future, especially if a case heads to trial.

Source: ABC News: "'Scum With a Gun': Facebook Fraud Case Heats Up New Jersey,"Gregory J. Krieg, Nov. 2, 2011

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