Can I be held responsible for any wrongdoing if I co-signed a loan for my cousin but didn’t know she used her deceased sister’s identity?

She’s skipped town, so I paid off the loan.

Asked on February 6, 2013 under Criminal Law, Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You should only face criminal liability if you had the requisite criminal intent  (or mens rea).  If you knew or reasonably should have known (willful or deliberate blindness or unawareness is not a defense) that your cousin was using her sister's identify, then you could be criminally liable; but if you had no knowledge she was doing anything illegal, you should not be.

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