Georgia enacts heavy punishment for ID fraud
Jul 22, 2011 Brian Bradley
Adults in Georgia who attempt to circumvent identity authentication measures to get a job using a fake ID may face up to 15 years of imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 under a provision of the state's new immigration legislation, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Despite the fact that the offense - termed "aggravated identity fraud" - is included in a provision that's part of an immigration law, it affects all Georgia residents including illegal immigrants. The harsh penalty has been lauded by some as a necessary step towards combating abuse of identity verification procedures, but critics argue that the legislation may violate the constitution. According to Frank Rotondo, executive director of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, the previous penalty for ID fraud was probation and a small fine. "It's a harsh penalty, but it is meant as an eye-opener, to send a message," he told the news source. Human rights advocates are up in arms about the measure, as well as other aspects of the legislation - specifically Section 8, which authorizes officers to investigate the immigration status of suspects they believe to have committed a criminal offense, the Times Georgian explains.