In a case of first impression, a New Jersey woman can be prosecuted for identity theft for allegedly creating a fake Facebook profile for her ex-boyfriend, and posting inflammatory comments about him online, a Judge has ruled.
DT (full name redacted) is accused of creating the fake profile of her ex-boyfriend, a Northern New Jersey narcotics detective, where she allegedly posted comments about him to the effect that he had herpes, frequented prostitutes, was “high” all the time, as well as allegedly confessing, “I’m a sick piece of scum with a gun,” while posing as him on the fake profile.
This case could have wide ramifications for cyberspeech in New Jersey and other states. At issue is a New Jersey statute which makes it illegal to impersonate someone “…for the purpose of obtaining a benefit for himself or another, or to injure or defraud another.” DT’s attorney attempted to have the charges dismissed on the grounds that the law makes no mention of “electronic communications”. The Judge disagreed.
The ruling should give considerable pause to persons contemplating similar actions, since they will now be so doing at their own risk as the law continues to develop in this area.