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United States v. Doe

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
842 F.3d 1117 (2016)


The federal government (plaintiff) prosecuted "John Doe" (defendant) for aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A. The crime was aggravated because Doe was alleged to have used stolen identification to obtain official documents. Doe's true identity was never known, but he claimed to be a Mexican citizen. The trial court referred to Doe's alleged victim as "V." The evidence established that Doe furnished V's name, birth date, and Social Security number in order to evade the state applicant identification requirements for obtaining his Nevada driver's license. Doe used V's personal data for each of several license renewals. Doe used his fraudulently obtained driver's license and V's Social Security number to evade the federal applicant identification requirements for obtaining a Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification. Over many years, Doe's misappropriation of V's identity caused V serious problems such as the suspension of his driver's license, the misdirection of his tax-refund checks, and the garnishment of his wages for child support. V's complaints sparked an investigation that led to Doe's arrest. The jury found Doe guilty. On appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Doe argued that the government failed to prove, by direct evidence, that he knew that V was a real person, and that as a foreigner, he was unfamiliar with Nevada and federal applicant-identification requirements.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Garbis, J.)

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