17°FFairFull Forecast

Iowa House OKs bill making identity theft a felony

Published: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 11:44 a.m. CST

DES MOINES (AP) — The minimum charge for identity theft would be increased to a felony under legislation approved Monday by the Iowa House.

Current law allows offenders to be charged on a sliding scale, from an aggravated misdemeanor to a class D felony. Offenders commit a felony if the value of what they purchased with a stolen identity is more than $1,000.

The bill, approved 84-11 with bipartisan support, would make the minimum a class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison. But it provides exemptions to teenagers or underage adults who use fake or stolen identification cards to enter a bar, buy alcohol or cigarettes, or purchase an R-rated movie ticket.

Rep. Mark Brandenburg, R- Council Bluffs, said raising the penalty would deter identity theft crimes. He relayed a story about a constituent whose debit card was stolen by someone who purposely charged three different purchases under the felony threshold.

“Obviously this person was keeping his or her theft under $1,000 because they don’t want to be charged with a felony,” Brandenburg said. “In this particular situation (the bill) is a deterrent.”

But Rep. Mary Wolfe, D-Clinton, questioned whether the bill was needed.

National video

Reader Poll

What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Spending time with family and friends
Making holiday treats
Singing Christmas songs
Decorating the tree