Posted on : 03-11-2011 | By : Julie Gottlieb | In : Buzz, Online Privacy, Online Speech
Yesterday New Jersey Superior Court Judge David Ironson refused to dismiss an indictment charging a woman with identity theft for allegedly adversely impersonating her ex-boyfriend on Facebook. Dana Thornton, 41, faces up to 18 months in prison if convicted of using Facebook to impersonate Michael Lasalandra, her ex-boyfriend who is a Parsippany narcotics detective. While Thornton’s attorney, Richard Roberts maintains that New Jersey’s identity theft should not apply because the law does not include “electronic communications,” it is unclear whether Thornton will appeal.
According to the New Jersey statute, a defendant is guilty of identity theft if she “impersonates another or assumes a false identity and does an act in such assumed character or false identity for the purpose of obtaining a benefit for himself or another or to injure or defraud another.” This law does not specify its pertinence to electronic communications, nor does it specify its pertinence to any other form of communication. Historically, this statute was used to convict people who impersonate another for financial gain. However, if the allegations against Thornton are true, it is clear that she assumed her ex-boyfriend’s identity for the purpose of injuring his reputation as a police officer. According to Ben Horowitz’s article, Judge Rules Case of Belleville Woman’s Fake Facebook Page Can Proceed, Thornton, while impersonating Detective Lasalandra on Facebook, “admitted using drugs, going to prostitutes and having herpes.” Furthermore, Judge Ironson affirmed that Thornton’s statements were harmful to his “professional reputation.” A pre-trial conference is scheduled for December 7.
Please read the following articles to learn more about this case:
- Woman to Be Prosecuted for Identity Theft After Impersonating Boyfriend on Facebook By The Associated Press
- ‘Scum With a Gun’: Facebook Fraud Case Heats Up New Jersey By Gregory J. Krieg
- Facebook Case Tests Identity Theft Laws By Matt Liebowitz
- NJ Woman Fights Charge Over Fake Facebook Page By The Associated Press
- Fake Facebook Page Leads to ID Theft Charge By Tina Susman
- Morris County ID Theft Charge at Issue in Court By Peggy Wright
- N.J. Facebook ID Theft Case Could Impact Other States By David Cohen
To learn more about online identity theft, please read my following articles