Court split on man’s forgery conviction

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Court of Appeals was divided over whether a man who used another person’s Social Security number and a false identification should have been convicted of forgery under a 2005 amendment to the law.

Rafael Bocanegra got a job in 2010 with Keystone RV Co. in Goshen by listing his name as “John Giron” on the application and providing a Social Security number and card that had the name “John Giron” on it. He also had an identification card allegedly issued by Ohio that had the name “John Giron.” When the real John Giron received a letter from the IRS accusing him of not reporting income from Keystone, an investigation showed Bocanegra used Giron’s identification to get the job.

He was charged with and convicted of Class C felony forgery and identity deception as a Class D felony, but he was only sentenced on the forgery conviction.

The majority relied on Lohmiller v. State, 884 N.E.2d 903 (Ind. Ct. App. 2008), to affirm that Bocanegra had intended to defraud his employer and Keystone could suffer potential injury. An amendment in 2005 – enacted after Lohmiller committed her offenses – creates a lesser offense to the Class C felony forgery: counterfeiting. The intent to defraud is not needed to convict one of counterfeiting. The state did not charge Bocanegra with counterfeiting.

While the majority in Rafael Bocanegra v. State of Indiana, 20A03-1108-CR-361, found Bocanegra’s argument that Keystone didn’t sustain any actual injury persuasive, the judges pointed to Indiana decisions after the 2005 amendment that indicate actual injury doesn’t need to be proven to convict of forgery. They ordered that his identity deception conviction be vacated.

Senior Judge Patrick Sullivan dissented, finding there must be an actual injury to prove that Bocanegra committed fraud.

“The fact remains, however, that Bocanegra performed the work for which he was hired and paid. I discern no legally cognizable harm to Keystone from that. One might deduce that by hiring Bocanegra, Keystone was incurring a prospective or possible inquiry and sanctions for hiring an illegal alien,” he wrote. “Nevertheless, such speculative ‘harm’ does not meet the requirement for proof of a legal harm or injury.”

Sullivan would reverse the forgery conviction and leave in place the identity deception conviction.



Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.

  2. I had a hospital and dcs caseworker falsify reports that my child was born with drugs in her system. I filed a complaint with the Indiana department of health....and they found that the hospital falsified drug screens in their investigation. Then I filed a complaint with human health services in Washington DC...dcs drug Testing is unregulated and is indicating false positives...they are currently being investigated by human health services. Then I located an attorney and signed contracts one month ago to sue dcs and Anderson community hospital. Once the suit is filed I am taking out a loan against the suit and paying a law firm to file a writ of mandamus challenging the courts jurisdiction to invoke chins case against me. I also forwarded evidence to a u.s. senator who contacted hhs to push an investigation faster. Once the lawsuit is filed local news stations will be running coverage on the situation. Easy day....people will be losing their jobs soon...and judge pancol...who has attempted to cover up what has happened will also be in trouble. The drug testing is a kids for cash and federal funding situation.

  3. (A)ll (C)riminals (L)ove (U)s is up to their old, "If it's honorable and pro-American, we're against it," nonsense. I'm not a big Pence fan but at least he's showing his patriotism which is something the left won't do.

  4. While if true this auto dealer should be held liable, where was the BMV in all of this? How is it that the dealer was able to get "clean" titles to these vehicles in order to sell them to unsuspecting consumers?

  5. He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance. He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.. He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless [ ] Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions. GOD BLESS THE GOVERNORS RESISTING! Count on the gutless judiciary to tie our children down and facilitate the swords being drawn across their throats. Wake Up America ...