In a recent case revolving around identity fraud in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the court of appeals affirmed the lower court’s verdict and concluded there was sufficient evidence to find the defendant guilty. On appeal, the defendant argued that the Commonwealth was required to present more evidence in order to support the guilty verdict. The court, however, disagreed, and the lower court’s ruling stayed in place.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, the defendant in this case applied for and received a job in September 2016 as a caretaker for an elderly woman. As part of the job, the woman’s son gave the defendant a credit card, and he told her to use the card for anything his mother needed. The woman’s son did not ask for receipts for any of the defendant’s purchases.
In 2018, the woman’s son became suspicious. He noticed that the card had been used to buy jewelry, as well as to buy gift cards to grocery stores and department stores. Acting on these suspicions, the son fired the defendant. A grand jury indicted her of identity fraud, finding that she had illegally used the son’s credit card to fund her own purchases unrelated to the job at hand.
At trial, the jury found the defendant guilty of seven misdemeanor counts and one felony count of identity fraud.
On appeal, the defendant argued that the evidence was insufficient to support her convictions. She maintained that because she did not make any misrepresentations while using the card, such as lying about her identity or her authority to use the money, she should not be found guilty. If she did actively lie about her identity, said the defendant, she could not be found guilty of identity fraud.
The court considered this argument but ultimately disagreed. To be found guilty of identity fraud, there is no requirement that the defendant lie about her or his identity. The elements of the crime require that the defendant use the victim’s identifying information in a way that is contrary to the victim’s wishes and intent. Here, the defendant had clearly acted in a way contrary to the son’s intent.
Given this fact, said the court, the defendant’s argument had no merit. There was sufficient evidence to find her guilty of identity fraud, and the convictions were thus affirmed.
Have You Been Charged with a Crime in Fairfax County?
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges in Fairfax County, give us a call at Robinson Law, PLLC. When done correctly, an argument alleging insufficient evidence can be very effective, and we have successfully used the tactic to argue against hundreds of charges in Fairfax County. When you are facing criminal charges, you only want the best; at Robinson Law, we are prepared to offer you just that. We handle cases related to DUIs, assault and battery, drugs, guns, and domestic violence. For a free and confidential consultation, call our office today at 703-542-3616.