A Massachusetts man has been arrested and charged with violating New Hampshire’s laws dealing with identity fraud. The incident highlights how the vagueness of identity fraud laws allows prosecutors to go after innovative techniques, but can also put innocent people into serious trouble.
Local Man Arrested and Charged With Identity Fraud
Last month, 39-year-old Maxherve Fleurme was arrested at Boston’s Logan Airport as he tried leaving the U.S. for Haiti. He was extradited to New Hampshire last week and was arraigned in the Derry District Court.
Mr. Fleurme is charged with identity fraud after, according to police, he stole enough personal information from several Londonderry residents to order debit cards in their names. He would then monitor the residents’ mailboxes and take the debit card out when it was delivered. Police said he then used these new debit cards at ATM machines to steal over $4,800 in cash.
The case is still in its early stages, so Mr. Fleurme’s defense team has yet to make a response to these allegations. Until they do, the only news about the case comes from the prosecutor and the police, leaving many important details unknown.
New Hampshire’s Identity Fraud Law
New Hampshire’s law on identity fraud is N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 638:26. While this statute might look simple, short, and straightforward, there are several pitfalls to how it is written that make it prone to misuse and can easily implicate innocent people with legal trouble.
Practically speaking, the identity fraud statute requires someone to pose as another person “with the purpose” of obtaining confidential information or to defraud that person of something of value. While demanding that law enforcement prove that a suspect was acting purposefully is a good idea, the practical implementation of this requirement can quickly become a disaster: Getting inside a suspect’s head and determining their true intention ends with law enforcement arresting people who had no such intention, and who might have been acting in the best interests of the very person they are being accused of defrauding.
Defending Against Charges of Identity Fraud
These are worries and concerns that people rarely think about. That is, until they are being accused of identity fraud themselves. Only then does it become apparent how easily New Hampshire’s identity fraud law can lead to mistaken accusations—like a grandchild helping an aging grandparent with their finances, only to have the grandparent forget and call the police—or to an act of retaliation for a perceived slight or for leverage in a deteriorating relationship.
These situations are not trivial: convictions for identity fraud are Class A felonies, which carry jail times of between 7.5 and 15 years and a $4,000 fine, plus restitution for the money stolen in the fraud.
Tenn And Tenn, P.A.: Criminal Defense Attorneys in New Hampshire
If you have been accused of identity theft, you need legal representation to protect your legal rights. Contact the criminal defense attorneys at the Manchester law office of Tenn And Tenn, P.A. online or call us at (888) 332-5855.