Belleville woman charged with identity theft on Facebook

MORRISTOWN - A Belleville woman is being charged with identity theft for allegedly creating a fake Facebook account under her ex-boyfriend's name.

Dana Thornton, 41, could face up to 18 months in prison if she's convicted under the state's identity theft law. She's accused of setting up a phony Facebook page in the name of an ex-boyfriend, who is a Parsippany police officer.

The woman's lawyer, Richard Roberts, sought to have the indictment dismissed. Roberts argued that current statutes don't cover social media sites. He pointed to pending legislation now before the state Senate that would clarify existing identity theft laws to include Internet websites.

Roberts also argued that the harm inflicted on the victim can't really be quantified since his client did not profit from her alleged actions.

Morris County Assistant Prosecutor Robert Schwartz countered that harm was inflicted when Thornton posted photos of the detective along with statements that read, "I'm an undercover narcotics detective that gets high every day," "I hire prostitutes and escorts to satisfy my fetishes," and "I have herpes."

Judge Ironson said that the key to interpreting the law centers on the intent of the legislation, which does not allow for the kind of impersonation that Thornton is accused of. He then ruled not to dismiss the indictment and that the case should move forward. Thornton is due back in court on Dec. 7 for a pretrial hearing.

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