During an age when more people use the internet whether it’s on a computer or on a mobile device, there are more opportunities for people to interact with others who commit crimes online. Sex crimes are among those that are the most common and can involve adults as well as children. There are sex crimes committed by people who claim to be a certain age when they are really older as well as crimes that are committed in order to lead to another crime, such as rape or murder. Pornography involving children is an internet sex crime that has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years and involves everything from sharing images of children in a sexual manner to creating videos with children in a sexual nature.
There are state and federal laws against sex crimes involving the internet. These laws tend to apply to those who are trying to engage in any kind of sexual activity with someone who is under the age of 18 or someone who is posing as someone of an older age in order to entice someone who is younger. There are also laws that prohibit any kind of possession of material that could be pornographic in nature that shows a child under the age of 18. Many images regarding child pornography are not protected under the wording of the First Amendment, which means that investigators need to tread carefully if they suspect that someone has been using the internet to engage in sex crimes.
If someone makes the decision to lure a minor in order to commit a sexual act, then it could result in a felony charge. in order for the charges to hold up in court, the prosecutor would need to be able to show that the person who was being lured was under the age of 18 at the time and that there was a clear attempt of a sexual nature involved. The prosecution must also be able to show that the internet was the source used to lure the minor to commit the sexual act.
There have been numerous resources poured into investigating internet sex crimes due to concerned citizens who want the federal government to put a stop to pornography and similar activities. This has resulted in more federal prosecutions. Someone who is charged with an internet sex crime could face several years in prison and have to pay significant fines. The person would also need to register as a sex offender, which would then limit the types of places the person could visit and live. Any computers or other items used to commit the crime would be taken away from the person.
Someone who is charged with an internet sex crime for the first time could be sentenced to at least 15 years in prison with a maximum sentence of 30 years depending on the nature of the crime and the person’s criminal background. The person can be charged by the state and the federal government, especially if the crime took place in multiple states. The age of the minor is taken into consideration as well. Younger victims often result in longer prison sentences. If a sexual crime occurred as a result of internet crime, then the person could face additional charges depending on the acts that were performed.
Megan’s Law is usually upheld in most states. However, there could be a few modifications to the law. This law offers details about the information that the public can see about a sex offender. Basic details can usually be seen by people in all states, but specific details about the crime and where it took place could be limited in some states compared to others depending on who needs to view the details. The statute of limitations instructs that offenders cannot be sentenced to jail if the indictment is processed five years or more after the sex crime occurred.
Technology is one of the high growth sectors around the world today, and it possesses both negative and positive outcomes through the internet. People use the internet for various reasons, just as there are some with good intentions. Others take advantage and abuse it through illegal activities like criminals, hackers, among other wrong purposes, which cause serious problems.
In federal law, fraud is an intentional act of deception and misrepresentation by a person with the intention of individual material gain. The law enforcement of internet fraud encompasses both at the federal and state levels, with a wide range of laws focused on fighting computer crimes.
Internet Fraud Laws
Internet fraud needs to be reported to the federal and state-level authorities, depending on the extent of the crime. Citizens who identify such crimes are encouraged to report to the federal law enforcement or their local offices. Online fraud has an intense infrastructure within the US and cuts across many states, and that is why internet crimes get reported locally.
Internet Fraud Crimes and Charges
Computer and internet laws protect people’s properties, assets, or data from getting compromised by internet fraudsters. The crimes and charges vary from the various online crimes committed like wire and mail fraud, and terrorism, among other offenses. Here are some of the offenses stated according to the law.
• Using an illegally acquired computer belonging to another person to acquire critical information such as financial records of any United States agency or a protected network.
• Unlawfully obtaining data of the United States government or using such information in excess whether you found the information on the device or it got removed before accessing the computer.
• A person corrupts a computer system knowingly by transmitting computer programs, data, or codes, causing the system’s damage.
• Identify theft, which occurs when a person uses the stolen information with the intent of illegal gain. For instance, the suspect sends an email that looks legit. When the link gets opened, it takes the user to another website using credit card details belonging to another individual. It also happens when a person uses a debit card to buy goods online. Another crime is hacking, where one gets access to another person’s details via online channels with the intent to victimize the individual.
• When a person commits internet investment fraud by luring victims to invest in a ghost company.
• A person commits a communication crime by using internet services like wireless and satellite without paying. Another form of communication fraud is using copyright films and music without consent and payment of the services.
• Other internet frauds include password trafficking, counterfeit currency, stealing computer data, internet harassment, destroying or corrupting data in a computer, child pornography or exploitation, spreading computer viruses, SPAM, cyberstalking, and obtaining national security data.
• Sending out emails with the intent to get personal details of victims such as passwords, account numbers, and social security numbers
• Mining data from other devices by installing malware or spyware
• Changing information in a computer system such as work reports and grades
• Corrupting other computers with viruses or worms and ruining the system
• When the authorized user cannot have access to the system due to intentionally interrupted network
Internet Fraud Punishment
The penalties include up to twenty years imprisonment, and in the case where the person does not have a past internet criminal history, they get a ten-year jail term. In the case of serious offenses like damaging the national security data, the individual may receive a twenty-year imprisonment.
The charges may be imposed based on the depth of damages caused and the value of the stolen information. The person will not have a right to access computers for a certain period and should remain under supervised probation and may not get gainful employment.
Internet Fraud Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations states that an individual will not be prosecuted for a non-capital crime unless the information gets in motion within 60 months or five years from the time the offense occurred.
What to Note
Some internet fraud cases may require the services of an experienced lawyer to take you through the process. With adequate knowledge in criminal cases, the lawyer will get you out of jail, minimize your sentence period, or even get the charges dropped.
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