CHAPTER 117

An Act concerning wrongful impersonation and theft of identity and amending N.J.S.2C:21-17.

Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

1. N.J.S.2C:21-17 is amended to read as follows:

Impersonation; theft of identity; disorderly persons offense, crime.

2C:21-17. Impersonation; Theft of Identity; disorderly persons offense, crime.

a. A person is guilty of an offense when he:

(1) Impersonates another or assumes a false identity and does an act in such assumed character or false identity for purpose of obtaining a pecuniary benefit for himself or another or to injure or defraud another;

(2) Pretends to be a representative of some person or organization and does an act in such pretended capacity for the purpose of obtaining a benefit for himself or another or to injure or defraud another;

(3) Impersonates another, assumes a false identity or makes a false or misleading statement regarding the identity of any person, in an oral or written application for services, for the purpose of obtaining services; or

(4) Obtains any personal identifying information pertaining to another person and uses that information, or assists another person in using the information, in order to assume the identity of or represent themselves as another person, without that person's authorization and with the purpose to fraudulently obtain or attempt to obtain a pecuniary benefit or services, or avoid the payment of debt or other legal obligation or avoid prosecution for a crime by using the name of the other person.

As used in this paragraph: "personal identifying information" means, but is not limited to, the name, address, telephone number, social security number, place of employment, employee identification number, demand deposit account number, savings account number, credit card number or mother's maiden name of an individual person.

b. A person is guilty of an offense if, in the course of making an oral or written application for services, he impersonates another, assumes a false identity or makes a false or misleading statement with the purpose of avoiding payment for prior services. Purpose to avoid payment for prior services may be presumed upon proof that the person has not made full payment for prior services and has impersonated another, assumed a false identity or made a false or misleading statement regarding the identity of any person in the course of making oral or written application for services.

c. (1) A person who violates subsection a. or b. of this section is guilty of a crime of the second degree if the pecuniary benefit, the value of the services received, the payment sought to be avoided or the injury or fraud perpetrated on another is $75,000 or more. If the pecuniary benefit, the value of the services received, the payment sought to be avoided or the injury or fraud perpetrated on another is at least $500 but is less than $75,000, the offender is guilty of a crime of the third degree. If the pecuniary benefit, the value of the services received, the payment sought to be avoided or the injury or fraud perpetrated on another is at least $200 but is less than $500, the offender is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

(2) If the pecuniary benefit, the value of the services received, the payment sought to be avoided or the injury or fraud perpetrated on another is less than $200,or if the benefit or services received or the injury or fraud perpetrated on another has no pecuniary value,or if the person was unsuccessful in an attempt to receive a benefit or services or to injure or perpetrate a fraud on another, then the person is guilty of a disorderly persons offense.

d. A violation of R.S.39:3-37 for using the personal information of another to obtain a driver's license or register a motor vehicle or a violation of R.S.33:1-81 or section 6 of P.L.1968. c.313 (C.33:1-81.7) for using the personal information of another to illegally purchase an alcoholic beverage shall not constitute an offense under this section if the actor received only that benefit or service and did not perpetrate or attempt to perpetrate any additional injury or fraud on another.

2. This act shall take effect immediately.

Approved May 21, 1999.