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Fake Facebook accounts could be ID theft

US case will go ahead
Thu Nov 03 2011, 14:53

A US WOMAN accused of impersonating her boyfriend on Facebook can be tried for identity theft, a judge said this week.

The Associated Press reports that Dana Thornton was indicted in 2010 on one count of fourth-degree identity theft, for which she could draw a maximum 18-month prison term.

She was accused by assistant prosecutor Robert Schwartz of creating the Facebook page and attributing it to her policeman ex-boyfriend. Allegedly she used the fake profile to make a lot of fake comments and statements about the New Jersey based detective.

The AP reports that typical posts claimed that the cop was "high all the time", had herpes and used prostitutes. One update allegedly made by Thornton read, "I'm a sick piece of scum with a gun."

Nasty business, but important perhaps as there is no precedent, at least in New Jersey law, that covers this sort of thing. It is illegal to impersonate someone "for the purpose of obtaining a benefit for himself or another or to injure or defraud another", but the question is whether that counts in this case.

The AP reports that Thornton's attorney, Richard Roberts asked to have the case dismissed because the law does not take electronic communications into account. State Superior Court Judge David Ironson disagreed, saying that the law is "clear and unambiguous".

"The fact that the means of committing the crime are not set forth in the statute doesn't lead to the conclusion that the defendant didn't commit the crime," he added. µ


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