Impersonation

(redirected from impersonations)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.

Impersonation

The crime of pretending to be another individual in order to deceive others and gain some advantage.

The crime of false impersonation is defined by federal statutes and by state statutes that differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In some states, pretending to be someone who does not actually exist can constitute false impersonation. For example, suppose Bill attempts to evade prosecution for a crime by giving the arresting officer a fictitious name and address. In Colorado, where "[a] person who knowingly assumes a false or fictitious identity and, under that identity, does any other act intending unlawfully to gain a benefit for himself is guilty of criminal impersonation," Bill could be charged with a crime (Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 18-5-113[1] [West 1996]). In this situation, the benefit Bill hopes to realize is avoiding prosecution, so that element of the offense has been satisfied. To be charged, the defendant does not need to seek a monetary benefit from the impersonation.

In New York, giving only a fictitious name does not constitute false impersonation. Under New York law, criminal impersonation is committed when an individual "[i]mpersonates another and does an act in such assumed character with intent to obtain a benefit or to injure or defraud another"(N.Y. Penal Law § 190.25 [McK-inney 1996]). In other words, it is illegal to impersonate a real person, but not a fictitious one. Thus, if Carol forges Ann's name on checks made out to Ann so that Carol can cash the checks, Carol could be guilty of false impersonation—but only if Ann is a real person. Such laws are designed to protect innocent people from the losses they may incur owing to the wrongful acts of others and to restore any loss of dignity and reputation they may have suffered as a result of impersonation.

Most state laws also provide that the impersonation of a public official is a criminal act. In Texas, impersonating "a public servant with intent to induce another to submit to his pretended official authority or to rely on his pretended official acts" is a crime (Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 37.11 [West 1996]). Depending on the jurisdiction, the public servant being impersonated does not always have to actually exist. For example, suppose Carl pulls over a driver, shows her a fake police badge, and reprimands her for speeding but tells her that he will not arrest her if she pays him $50. Carl's actions constitute the crime of false impersonation, in addition to any other crimes, including Extortion, that may apply to the situation. Thousands of criminal reports are filed every year by individuals victimized in various ways by persons impersonating police officers.

Under federal law, pretending to be "an officer or employee acting under the authority of the United States" in order to demand or obtain "any money, paper, document, or thing of value" can result in a fine as well as imprisonment for up to three years (18 U.S.C.A. § 912). Like state false impersonation statutes, the federal law also seeks to protect interests such as the dignity and prestige of individuals, especially those who hold federal office. Federal statutes also prohibit other types of impersonation, including pretending to be a U.S. citizen; pretending to be a U.S. officer or employee attempting to arrest or search a person or search a building; pretending to be a creditor of the United States or a foreign official; and pretending to be an agent or member of 4-H or of the Red Cross.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
Just select a vocal impersonation from the list you downloaded, then indicate your wake-up time.
For now, Willie is looking forward to reinventing himself as a comedian and coming up with a shtick that doesn't involve his usual impersonations and political satire.
Impersonation of a police officer is a (https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=PEN&sectionNum=538d) misdemeanor in California punishable by a combination of a short prison sentence and fine, but the teen's age could theoretically lessen the sentence if he is found guilty.
"And it's a real point of concern for some women in certain regions of the world where it [impersonation] may have certain cultural or social ramifications," he added.Davis further added that impersonation alerts are part of continuous efforts to make women around the world feel safer while using the social platformThe company has been hostingroundtable discussionsaround the world with users, activists, NGOs and other groups to gather feedback on how the platform can better address issues around privacy and safety.
His impersonation of Pepe Smith in the pilot episode had him bagging the top score.
A spokesman for RCT Council said "The council has reported the impersonation of councillors and officers taking place on Twitter.
The researchers also discovered that when comparing impersonations against accents, areas in the posterior superior temporal/inferior parietal cortex and in the right middle/anterior superior temporal sulcus showed greater responses.
STOKE supporters are planning to stage the largest-ever Arsene Wenger impersonation at the Britannia today.
The video, recorded in his friend's shop in Kensington high street, featured Darren doing his best impersonations of Reds' manager Rafa Benitez, captain Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and former players Michael Owen and Peter Crouch.
Emmy Award-winning Tracey Ullman brings her signature brand of spot-on impersonation and comic to State Of The Union, a new sketch comedy series every Tuesday at 7pm from October 7 that takes a satirical look at a day in the life of America.
And his glitzy impersonations have taken him all over the world.
"Elvis was such a charismatic guy, but too many Presley tributes rely on jokey impersonations that completely miss the point.