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Bill would increase penalties for identity theft

TOPEKA —A bill to increase the penalties for identity theft wasn't Rep. Les Osterman's bill, but it just as well might have been.

Osterman personalized the legislation's intent Friday before the House passed it. He related his own experience when someone stole his credit card numbers and he had to spend $10,000 of his own money to pay off fraudulent charges and on lawyer fees to clear his name and credit rating.

"Eight years ago, I had it happen to me," Osterman said. And, he said, unless you've personally experienced it, "You don't know what it's like to have your name drug through the mud."

Osterman, a freshman Republican from Wichita, made his plea in support of House Bill 2008, which would make identity theft a "person" felony, rather than a "nonperson" felony as it is now.

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