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New York Computer Fraud Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Computer Fraud?

Computer fraud describes white collar crimes related to using a computer to take, undermine, destroy, or use information in an unlawful manner. It is closely associated with other white collar crimes such as identity theft, grand larceny, and embezzlement. It occurs when someone accesses a computer without permission or accesses information on or through a computer without permission.

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What Is Unauthorized Use of a Computer?

Unauthorized use of a computer is a class A misdemeanor that involves knowingly using or accessing a computer, a computer service, or a computer network without authorization. You will also face this charge if you do not personally use a computer, computer service or computer network, but you cause it to be used by someone else. However, even though unauthorized use of a computer is a class A misdemeanor you can still end up spending time in jail and you will still end up with a criminal record. Thus, it is still important that you are represented by an experienced New York computer fraud lawyer.

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What Is Computer Trespass?

Computer trespass is a felony that involves knowingly using a computer with the intent to commit a crime, or knowingly using a computer and gaining access to computer material. For purposes of computer fraud offenses, “computer material” has a specific meaning. Computer material is computer data related to medical history of identifiable people as or record’s of individuals maintained by a state government entity. Computer trespass is a class E felony that carries a possible prison sentence of up to 4 years.

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What Is Computer Tampering?

Computer tampering involves illegally accessing a computer and intentionally destroying or altering the data. As a computer fraud attorney in New York will explain, there are 4 different computer tampering charges in New York Penal Law. Criminal tampering in the fourth degree is a class A misdemeanor. It involves simply accessing a computer, using a computer, or causing a computer to be used without authorization, and destroying or altering data. Computer tampering in the third degree is a class E felony. It involves unlawfully accessing a computer with the intent to commit a felony. Or, intentionally accessing a computer and intentionally destroying computer material or data, causing over $1000 in damage.

Computer tampering in the second degree involves illegally accessing a computer and causes damage in access of $3000, or destroys medical records of identifiable individuals, and as a result those individuals suffer serious physical injury. It is a class D felony. The most serious computer tampering offense, computer tampering in the first degree, is a class C felony. You will face this charge if you cause over $50,000 in damage because you illegally accessed or used a computer, and intentionally damaged or altered data or a program.

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What Is Unlawful Duplication of Computer Related Material?

Unlawful duplication of computer related material is a computer crime based on copying computer material without authorization. Unlawful duplication of computer related material in the second degree involves copying medical records without authorization. It is a class B misdemeanor. Unlawful duplication of computer related material in the first degree involves copying computer data or a program, resulting in harm to the owner of the material in excess of $2500, or copying the material in furtherance of a felony. It is a class E felony. If you are convicted you could be sentenced to prison for up to 4 years.

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What Is Criminal Possession of Computer Related Material?

It is also against the law to possess computer related material which was copied in violation of the unlawful duplication of computer related material in the first degree statute, with the intent of benefiting from it. This offense is referred to as criminal possession of computer related material is a class E felony, and can result in incarceration for up to 4 years in prison.

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What Are Examples of Computer Fraud?

Activities that amount to computer fraud include hacking, using spyware, accessing computers to illegally access government, business or medical records, emailing fraudulent investment schemes, accessing another’s personal information, causing damage to a government computer system, and fraudulently buying goods or services via computer. These activities implicate state laws related to grand larceny, identity theft, credit card fraud, and other theft and fraud crimes.

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Is Computer Fraud a Federal Crime?

While computer crimes typically implicate state fraud and theft laws, they can also implicate federal law. The federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) applies to trespassing in a government computer, obtaining national security information, accessing a computer and obtaining information, trafficking passwords, and extortion involving computers. Depending on the intent of the offender, other federal laws may be implicated as well.

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Still Have Questions? Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates for Help

If you have been arrested and charged with a computer fraud crime, it is important that you have experienced legal representation as early in your case as possible. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with white collar crimes such as computer fraud. Contact a computer fraud attorney serving New York at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of computer crimes in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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