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Criminal Impersonation (§190)

Criminal Impersonation Charges Require the Assistance of a Top Ranked New York Criminal Firm


CRIMINAL IMPERSONATION is a form of “fraud” that now falls under the classification of Identity Theft.  IDENTITY THEFT is the crime associated with pretending to be someone else and/or assuming their identity in order to obtain funds, resources, credit, or other benefits. Criminal Impersonation is sometimes used to make the distinction between “cyber crimes” of Identity Theft that are usually for the purpose of making fraudulent financial transactions and those crimes that are “in person”.  People have been arrested for impersonating celebrities in order to receive discounts, carte blanche, or other benefits and in this capacity do not normally receive the same rigor of speculation associated with crimes considered more malevolent in nature.>


However, because impersonation and Identity Theft can also be used for the facilitation of other crimes, crimes such as terrorism, espionage, or illegal immigration this particular classification of crime falls under Federal jurisdiction and can carry with it severe penalties.


If someone is charged with the crime of Criminal Impersonation, they are usually being charged with assuming a job or position that they really do not hold.  The cases listed below describe events where the person charged was impersonating someone in law enforcement.  Many times this is done in order to gain access to property for purposes of burglary or even murder.  There may be times that they are impersonating a resident of a building in order to gain access to a building, or an employee of a certain company in order to bypass the security of that company.   Criminal impersonation is done more physically than identity theft in that the perpetrator may dress up as a police officer or security officer and have a forged badge and other identification.


If you or someone you know has been charged with criminal impersonation, you should seek out the services of an experienced NY criminal defense attorney right away. 

This charge can carry jail time even in the second degree and you need to rely on a defense team like that at Bukh Law, P.C. that works all the time with the New York statutes and the Federal statutes that may be involved and knows how to present your defense successfully.

Degrees of Criminal Impersonation

Impersonation NYC

There are only two degrees of Criminal Impersonation, the second degree which is a misdemeanor and the first degree which is a felony.  They can each have a penalty of time in jail or prison.  Criminal Impersonation is not usually charged alone, but charged with the crime which the perpetrator used the impersonation to accomplish, such a burglary, theft, larceny, murder, etc.   This crime is codified in parts of §190 of the New York Penal Code.



§190.25  Criminal Impersonation in the Second Degree

In this degree of the charge a person is guilty if they:

  1. Impersonate another person with the intent to obtain a benefit or defraud someone else.
  2. Pretend to be a representative of an organization or corporation and acts in that way. This might be the example of using an employee ID for the purpose of fraudulently gaining access to a company and its files.
  3. When they act or pretend to be a public servant and wear that particular uniform or shield of an official (not police) and fraudulently presents themselves to be an official or acting for one and (b) does this with intent to have someone submit to authority or to gains funds.  An example of this might be a security guard that is not a member of the police or a member of some charitable organization such as the Salvation Army to gain contributions falsely.
  4.  To perform these impersonations online with intent to obtain a benefit, defraud, or injure someone.

This is a class A misdemeanor with penalties of up to one year in jail.

CASE EXAMPLE:  In this case, the facts determined that when the defendant was stopped for a traffic violation and they displayed an identification case containing a badge and documents and he stated that he was an agent of the Treasury Department and was “on the job”.  When the arresting officer finally was able to look closely at the documents, they were not those of an active Treasury Agent on the job and the defendant was charged and then later convicted of Criminal Impersonation in the second degree.  His appeal was denied.  People v. Gaeta (Frank) 2011 NY Slip Op 51744(U), decided on September 22, 2011.
§190.26  Criminal Impersonation in the First Degree.

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This crime rises to the first degree when the following acts are committed:

  1. They commit acts as set forth in NY PL §190.259(3) above, except they pretend to be a police officer or a federal law enforcement officer or display and wear any uniform, badge or insignia; and
  2. They then act with intent to impose this fraudulent authority on someone and while doing so commit a felony; or
  3. They pretend to be licensed physician, dentist or someone able to issue a prescription and give a pharmacist an oral prescription which is required to be written.

Criminal impersonation in the first degree is a Class E felony with a penalty of up to four years in prison.

CASE EXAMPLE:  The Court states that the defendant in this case did plead to the charge of criminal impersonation in the first degree.  The defendant stated that he pretended to be a police officer in an attempt to accomplish and complete the act of burglary.  He also contends he did this with intent to induce “two off-duty corrective officers to submit to such pretended authority” in order to commit burglary.  Needless to say, he was also convicted of burglary.  The appeal was regarding sentencing. People v Bennet, 2011 NY Slip Op 21006, decided on January 3, 2011.

Arkady Bukh and his team of experienced criminal defense attorneys with strong knowledge of the laws of New York are standing by to answer your call any day of the week, 24 hours.  We have the knowledge to help with these or any criminal charges. Anyone accused of ID theft must have experienced legal counsel by their side, a NYC criminal attorney who has worked with such cases before.  Years ago, these cases had more options for both the prosecution and defense to negotiate, but the events on 9-11 changed how crimes of this nature are viewed in the US court system.  If you have been accused of a crime of identity theft or criminal impersonation you must act quickly to secure an appropriate attorney who knows how to mitigate and plea the case prior to it being heard in a courtroom.

Identity theft laws have made criminal impersonation a serious crime.

A NYC criminal defense attorney can help you defend against charges that could ruin your future. Call day or night 800-601-0207 to talk to an attorney.

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