New Law Expands Crime of Impersonation to Include Electronic Signatures

The new law was sponsored by Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud

Albany, NY – As more New Yorkers grow accustomed to working remotely, electronic signatures have taken on a new significance in the execution of official documents. On December 22, 2021, Governor Hochul signed into law a bill (A6015) from Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz which adds a new section to the penal law explicitly stating that it is illegal to impersonate somebody by using their electronic signature without permission. Assemblyman Dinowitz currently serves as Chair of the Assembly Committee on Codes, which oversees legislation pertaining to the penal code among other sections of law. The bill was carried by State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud in the State Senate.

The law was broadly supported in the Legislature, passing 63-0 in the State Senate and 149-1 in the Assembly. Now signed, the law takes effect immediately.

Specifically, the new law classifies the impersonation of “another person without such other person’s permission by using the other person’s electronic signature with intent to obtain a benefit or injure or defraud the other person or another person” as a class A misdemeanor, which by existing law is punishable by up to one year in jail.

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D - Bronx) said: “As society evolves and adapts alongside technology, so too does our law need to change accordingly. With electronic signatures becoming ubiquitous throughout modern society, our law cannot be ambiguous about the improper use of other people’s signatures. Thank you to Governor Hochul for signing this bill into law, to State Senator Persaud for her leadership in the other chamber, and to our colleagues who supported the bill in the Legislature.”