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Federal identity theft statute includes use of deceased's identity

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A person can be convicted of aggravated identity theft under 18 U.S.C. Section 1028A for using the identity of a person who is dead or alive, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in an issue of first impression.

Anna LaFaive, who stole her dead sister’s identity to open checking accounts using counterfeit checks and withdrew nearly $65,000, argued that Section 1028A can only criminalize the use of a living person’s identity.

Section 1028A only uses the term “another person,” and doesn’t define “person.” In United States of America v. Anna LaFaive, also known as Phyllis Click, No. 09-2344, the judges rejected LaFaive’s argument that because Congress didn’t specify deceased people under the statute, that “another person” only refers to living people. But Congress didn’t use the word “living” either, and citing an 8th Circuit Court of Appeals case, the 7th Circuit judges agreed that the common usage of “person” includes both living and dead individuals.

They also concluded the structure of the statute supported their decision. Both subsections (a)(1) and (a)(2) prohibit the use of another person’s identification. Subsection (2) deals with identity theft and terrorism.

“If ‘another person’ in subsection (a)(2) was limited to living persons, the statute would prohibit the use of a deceased person’s social security card but not the oral use of that same deceased person’s social security number,” wrote Judge Michael Kanne. “…we agree with the other circuits that have concluded that limiting ‘person’ in subsection (a)(2) to a living person works an ‘illogical,’ ‘absurd,’ and ‘nonsensical’ result.”

Judge Kanne also noted the 7th Circuit is not the only one to decide after the ruling in Flores-Figueroa v. United States, 129 S.Ct. 1886 (2009), that Section 1028A covers the use of the identity of those living and dead.

The Circuit judges also upheld LaFaive’s sentence, finding the District Court didn’t plainly err in calculating or imposing her sentence. The District Court made it abundantly clear that it was departing upward from the 24- to 30-month range for the bank fraud counts based almost entirely on the fact that LaFaive’s criminal history score underrepresented the seriousness of her criminal background. In addition, the District Court was required to impose the mandatory 24 consecutive months on the aggravated identity theft counts, wrote the judge.
 

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  1. Welcome to Hendricks County where local and state statutes (especially Indiana Class C misdemeanors) are given a higher consideration than Federal statues and active duty military call-ups.

  2. If real money was spent on this study, what a shame. And if some air-head professor tries to use this to advance a career, pity the poor student. I am approaching a time that i (and others around me) should be vigilant. I don't think I'm anywhere near there yet, but seeing the subject I was looking forward to something I might use to look for some benchmarks. When finally finding my way to the hidden questionnaire all I could say to myself was...what a joke. Those are open and obvious signs of any impaired lawyer (or non-lawyer, for that matter), And if one needs a checklist to discern those tell-tale signs of impairment at any age, one shouldn't be practicing law. Another reason I don't regret dropping my ABA membership some number of years ago.

  3. The case should have been spiked. Give the kid a break. He can serve and maybe die for Uncle Sam and can't have a drink? Wow. And they won't even let him defend himself. What a gross lack of prosecutorial oversight and judgment. WOW

  4. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

  5. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

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