Possession of a fake ID is not identify theft

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Today, I was talking to a police detective from Arizona who works identity theft cases. I was contacting him about his queries to area law enforcement over use of a Social Security number. The number was being used by multiple persons across the United States.

He explained that he only worked on identity theft cases and he gave me an example of the typical case. I politely interrupted that he was talking about possession or use of a fake ID but not identity theft. I pointed him to Flores-Figueroa v. United States. That Supreme Court case held that a criminal defendant must know that the identification information being used belonged to a real person.

The detective countered that he was unaware of the case and he was certain no one ever used it as a defense to a charge of identity theft in his jurisdiction.

Anyhow, to my fellow lawyers, read the Flores-Figueroa v. United States decision. It’s been very useful to me in defending my clients.