Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force
Function: The Task Force will investigate consumer identity theft cases and reported financial crimes from individuals and businesses who are victims of such crimes. They shall focus on (but are not limited to): theft, fraud, and forgery crimes, including identity theft, check forgery, fraud in obtaining credit, financial transaction card fraud, theft from merchants, possession or sale of stolen or counterfeit checks, issuance of dishonored checks, creation or use of counterfeit state identification, obtaining counterfeit state identification, fraudulent Internet transactions, fraudulent merchandise returns, and other related financial crimes. They shall also investigate individuals who: commit multiple, cross-jurisdictional, financial crimes; employ computers and other sophisticated technology to counterfeit documents or commit fraud; illegally obtain information for identity theft.
Minnesota Financial Crimes Investigation Task Force
The following timeline is from the Minnesota House Research Department's "Identity Theft and Related Crimes" publication from October, 2007, p. 13.
2001 - During Special Session, the 2001 Legislature established the Financial Crimes Investigation Task Force to investigate consumer identity theft cases and financial crimes. Laws 2001, 1st spec. sess., ch. 8, art. 5, section 5.
2003 - The 2003 Legislature added reporting, venue, and aggregation provisions to the identity theft law and criminalized mail theft. It also made changes to the Financial Crimes Task Force, including a repealer of the sunset provision. Laws 2003, ch. 106, section 1 (reporting), section 2 (venue), section 3 (aggregation), section 4 (mail theft).
During the 2003 special session, the identity theft penalties were changed to reflect a new 20-year felony for offenses that involved eight or more direct victims or combined losses of more than $35,000. The legislature also directed the Sentencing Guidelines Commission to add to its list of aggravating factors an offender's use of another identity without authorization, to commit a crime. Laws 2003, 1st spec. sess., ch. 2, art. 8, sections 9, 18.
2005 - In 2005, the crime of "phishing" (electronic use of false pretense to obtain identity) was created. The legislature also expanded the identity theft restitution provisions, providing direct victims with mandatory restitution and access to free court documents. The legislature augmented the identity theft penalty provisions, expanding the 20-year felony to include offenses related to possession or distribution of pornographic work involving minors. Finally, the legislature restructured the Financial Crimes Task Force and made it permanent. The new Minnesota Financial Crimes Oversight Council provides guidance in investigating and prosecuting identity theft crimes and is authorized to establish a victims' assistance program. Laws 2005, ch. 136, art. 11, section 5; art.17, sections 32-36.
2006 - The 2006 Legislature addressed identity theft by amending statutes to account for increasing technological advances. It created the crimes of criminal use of encryption and facilitating access to a computer security system; it increased penalties for unauthorized computer access to personal data; and it deleted the requirement that a hacker receive "notice" of breaking into a security system to be guilty of a crime. Laws 2006, ch. 260, art. 1, sections 30-37.
2007 - In 2007, the legislature enacted laws to aid victims of criminal record identity theft. The law provides that if an innocent person's identifying information is erroneously associated with a criminal history record, any identifying information must be redacted from the public criminal history record. Previously, the erroneous information remained on the public record with a note stating that the information was erroneously attributed to the data subject. This was problematic in instances where an employer or landlord conducted a background check on an innocent person, did not fully understand the cautionary note, and made adverse decisions based on incorrect information (e.g., denying a job or apartment based on someone else's criminal record). Laws 2007, ch. 129, sections 44, 46.
The Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force was reviewed by the Legislative Commission on Planning and Fiscal Policy (LCPFP) in 2013 as part of their biennial duty required by Minn. Stat. 3.885 Subd. 11. The LCPFP's 2013 Recommendations called for keeping the task force.
A group of two or more local governmental units may enter into an agreement to establish a major financial crimes investigation task force. Members may include law enforcement officers, prosecutors, federal law enforcement officers, and investigators from local governmental units who are selected by their supervisors to participate in the investigation task force.
As of April 2000: A Minneapolis Police Sergean, and Edina police officer, a U.S. Secret Service special agent, a Hennepin County sheriff's detective, and a member of a retailer's group. Other officers work part-time.
The participating local governmental units shall select a commander.
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