United States v. Alexander

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 08-06-2013
  • Case #: 12-30156
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Tashima for the Court; Circuit Judges D. Nelson and Callahan
  • Full Text Opinion

A victim's true name and banking account numbers on a counterfeit paper check are a "means of identification" for purposes of aggravated identity theft under 18 U.S.C. §§ 1028A and 1028(d)(7).

Robert Alexander used a stolen check containing the account holders’ “names, address, bank account number, and bank routing number” to create a counterfeit check with different names and addresses but the true account and routing numbers. He then used the check to make a substantial purchase at Walmart. Alexander pled guilty to three of his charges but, at a bench trial, argued that his conduct did not meet the aggravated identity theft statute 18 U.S.C. § 1028A because the names and numbers on his counterfeit checks were not a “means of identification.” The district court rejected his interpretation of the statute and convicted Alexander of aggravated identity theft. The Ninth Circuit reviewed the decision de novo and looked to the plain language of the statute, noting that “any name or number that may be used . . . to identify a specific individual.” The panel held that a victim’s true name, account, and routing number on a counterfeit check are a “means of identification of another person” for purposes of aggravated identity theft. AFFIRMED.

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