Supreme court rules on identity theft

May 4, 2009

A major Supreme Court ruling regarding identify theft came down today in the case of FLORES-FIGUEROA V. UNITED STATES.

A federal statute forbidding “[a]ggrivated identity theft” imposes a mandatory consecutive 2-year prison term on an individual convicted of certain predicate crimes if, during (or in relation to) the commission of those other crimes, the offender “knowingly … uses, without lawful authority a means of identification of another person.”

The petitioner, Flores-Figueroa, a Mexican citizen, gave his employer counterfeit Social Security and alien registration cards containing his name but other people’s identification numbers, he was arrested and charged with two immigration offenses and aggravated identity theft.

According to the ruling, the court has to prove a person knowingly used someone’s identification as opposed to making up a number and causing identity theft by chance.

See the question presented and court opinion of the US Supreme Court.

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