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JD
JD, Criminal Justice Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Over 11 years of practice in litigation including 10 years as a state prosecutor
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i am being accused of identity theft. my business partner opened

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i am being accused of identity theft. my business partner opened credit lines in the name of our real estate business. the business went belly up and now she is accusing me of stealing her identity to open those accounts. what is my legal right.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  JD replied 4 years ago.

Is anyone taking these accusations seriously (are you in danger of prosecution)?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Yes because she has been telling her relatives who i became very good friends which she resented, that i did this to her. and she has been haraasing me leaving threatening messages on my cell that she will sue me for identity theft. her relatives are telling her if she believes that i stole her identity then she should sue me.
Expert:  JD replied 4 years ago.

Suing you and convincing the state to prosecute you are different issues. I'll go over your basic steps based on the information you've provided.

 

1) Your primary concern must be protection from wrongful criminal prosecution. If a law enforcement agency begins asking questions or if you detect an investigation brewing you should immediately consult a local attorney and fight the urge to explain things or defend yourself until you've been advised by a good local criminal lawyer. I realize these allegations are false, but that will not necessarily prevent criminal charges from being filed. You obviously want to avoid that if at all possible.

 

2) If you believe you are to be sued, you should also seek the services of a good civil practitioner in your area. First you will want to discuss the defense of any lawsuit she may file. You will want to gather the records and documents you preserved from this business as well as a witness list of any people necessary to prove she opened these accounts herself on behalf of the business.

 

3) During your conversation with the civil attorney, you will want to discuss your options for seeking relief from these false allegations. The steps you will take should include a letter demanding her immediate cessation from these defamatory comments as well as a written retraction. Further, you will want to discuss your options for filing a defamation action against her. A good civil lawsuit consists of three things... 1) a cause of action (defamation)... 2) damages (which can often be presumed when being falsely accused of criminal conduct... this is called defamation per se)... 3) a solvent defendant who can pay any damages awarded. Whether you have these three elements is something you will need to review with counsel, but you certainly will want to make the threat in order to stop these allegations from being communicated further.

 

Please reply if I can help further.

 

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
What do you mean by this?
"but you certainly will want to make the threat in order to stop these allegations from being communicated further."
Expert:  JD replied 4 years ago.
You will want to threaten a civil lawsuit for defamation through your attorney in your letter demanding she immediately stop communicating these false allegations. Whether or not you follow through with the threat will depend on the factors you've evaluated with your attorney that I discussed above.

Edited by JD on 2/23/2010 at 2:19 AM EST
JD, Criminal Justice Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1335
Experience: Over 11 years of practice in litigation including 10 years as a state prosecutor
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Over 11 years of practice in litigation including 10 years as a state prosecutor