Hi Mr. Glew,
My friends were planning on running an
identity theft scam and at first I was thinking about going along
with their plan and I agreed to help but then I got scared and backed
out right away. A couple weeks later they went through with the plan
and were arrested. Can I be charged with conspiracy?
Under California Penal Code section
182, a criminal conspiracy occurs when one agrees with one or more
other people to commit a crime, and one of them commits an overt act
in furtherance of that agreement. To provide you with an example
similar to the facts you have given me, conspiracy to commit identity
theft would occur when there is an agreement to commit the criminal
act, and there is an act in furtherance of that unlawful end, such as
illegally obtaining Social Security numbers.
Based on what you have told me, it
sounds as though you initially agreed to commit the criminal act, but
withdrew from the conspiracy before the criminal act was committed.
However, you are not out of the woods yet as to be absolved of any criminal liability, you must also have
withdrawn from the conspiracy before an act in furtherance was
committed. From what you
have related to me, it is unclear if you withdrew before an act in
furtherance occurred; if you withdrew before an act in furtherance
occurred, you are clear of any criminal wrongdoing, and if you did
not, you are on the hook for conspiracy to commit identity theft, but
not identity theft itself.
It sounds like you need to start
looking for some new friends, and possibly an attorney!
Send all questions to email@example.com. And remember, Better Call Glew!