For the victims of Tamika Bumpass, Georgias tougher law against identity theft comes just a little too late.
Gov. Roy Barnes last week signed Senate Bill 475, increasing the penalties for those who commit identity fraud and for possession of fake documents.
This important legislation will hopefully lessen the occurrence of identity theft, Barnes says, but if someone in Georgia becomes a victim of this crime, this law will help protect them and punish the offender.
It will be small comfort to the victims of identity theft that, the day of the signing, Bumpass sat securely handcuffed in Columbia County Magistrates Court as District Attorney Danny Craig laid out the voluminous case prosecutors have built against the Tennessee woman. As an added bonus, the cops also locked up Bumpass boyfriend the same day for similar crimes. And her sister sits in a Tennessee jail, adding to the family fraud rap sheet.
Even without the tougher penalties Bumpass could have faced under the new law, Craig says she potentially could see the sun only from the inside of a prison courtyard for the rest of her life. With a record that includes violent assault in addition to dozens of white-collar crimes, Bumpass could bump into Georgias two strikes law and face a sentence of life in prison without parole. The charges stemming from the shooting of a deputy during her escape from custody only enhance that prospect.
Fortunately, Columbia County Deputy Glenda Shelton is recovering nicely from a gunshot wound to the abdomen; Sheriffs Office Capt. John Wheeler says Shelton is eager to come back to work, but doctors want her to take it easy for a couple more weeks.
While most of Bumpass alleged victims of forgery and identity fraud didnt take a bullet, the wounds to their credit histories, sadly, may take far longer to heal. At least Georgias new law will help spare future victims.
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