February 21, 2024
Nearly every American has a computer in their home in this day and age. Because of this, certain crimes involving computers have become much more common – and it is perpetrated by people you may not expect.
According to the Denver Post, a woman from Denver bought almost $850,000 in goods through her employer’s account and then resold them on eBay to make money. While this woman ultimately pled guilty to tax evasion and mail fraud, she easily could have been charged with computer crimes in the state of Colorado.
Here’s what you need to know about computer fraud, what Colorado laws say, and what types of sentencing could be in your future if you’re found guilty.
Computer Crimes: What Are They?
According to Colorado law, computer crimes are crimes that involve the access or use of a computer, computer network, or computer system. Using the computer to do any of the following knowingly is considered a computer crime:
- Accessing a computer to commit fraud
- Accessing a computer, computer network, or computer system without authorization
- Accessing a computer under false pretenses, false passwords, misrepresentations, or false promises
- Accessing a computer to commit theft
It’s important to note that with the increased use of tablets and mobile phones for the access of social medial and the Internet, a tablet or phone can be considered a computer under the laws that regulate computer crimes.
Common Types of Computer Crime
While everyone is innocent until proven guilty under the law, there are charges for computer crimes that are quite common. Some examples include:
- Identity theft
- Stealing information or data
- Phishing scams
- Spreading viruses or malware
- Denial of service attacks
Colorado Penalties for Computer Crimes
The nature of the offense and any value assigned to the damage, loss, or theft is what influences the penalties for computer crimes in this state.
If you access a computer without authorization and it’s your first offense, for example, it’s a Class 2 misdemeanor. However, if you have a conviction of previous computer crimes on your record, then you can be charged with a Class 6 felony.
That can land you in prison for up to 18 months and require you to pay fines up to $100,000. As you will see below, the value of the theft, fraud, or damage will determine the level of an offense.
Class 2 Misdemeanor
This is charged when the theft or damage is less than $300. It can result in up to one year in prison and fines up to $1,000.
Class 1 Misdemeanor
When the theft or damage is more than $500 but less than $1,000, this crime is charged. It can result in up to 18 months in jail and $5,000 in fines.
Class 4 Felony
This is charged when the theft or damage is more than $1,000 but valued more than $20,000. It can result in up to six years in prison and fines up to $500,000.
Class 3 Felony
For theft or damage valued at $20,000 or more, this level of a felony can be charged. This is also the level of crime that the woman who perpetrated the eBay is likely facing. It can result in up to 12 years in prison and fines up to $750,000.
Be careful how you use computers in your daily life and don’t get tempted to perpetrate a crime using one or you could find yourself in some serious legal trouble.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been recognized by countless legal organizations for his exemplary defense work, including Avvo, Best DWI Attorneys, Expertise, Lawyers of Distinction, The National Trial Lawyers, and others. He was also named one of the 10 Best in Client Satisfaction in Colorado by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys for 2020 and is Lead Counsel rated.