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WASHINGTON-Congress unanimously passed the Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act last week and sent it to President George W. Bush’s desk for signing. Before leaving for the Fourth of July recess, the Senate approved H.R. 1731 by unanimous consent, which had already passed the House by a voice vote. The bill was sponsored by Congressman John Carter (R-Texas) and 26 others. It modifies the law to prescribe sentences of (1) two years imprisonment for knowingly transferring, possessing, or using, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person in the commission of a specified felony; and (2) five years imprisonment for knowingly taking such action with respect to a means of identification or a false identification document during and in relation to specified felony violations pertaining to terrorist acts. It also prohibits the courts from giving the criminal probation, any reduction of sentence or providing concurrent terms, among other things.

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