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Supreme Court Questions Use Of ID Theft Law Against Illegal Workers

Publication Date: 
February 26, 2009
Los Angeles Times
David G. Savage

Lecturer in Law Kevin K. Russell is quoted in the Los Angeles Times in an article about a Supreme Court case that explores the question whether the use of false ID cards by illegal immigrants is identity theft. Russell argued the case:

The high court took up the case Wednesday of Ignacio Carlos Flores-Figueroa, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who had worked at a steel plant in East Moline, Ill. He said he bought a forged ID card in Chicago that had a Social Security number and his name.

He was later reported to immigration agents and, when caught, he agreed to plead guilty to using false documents and entering the country illegally. Because of a previous conviction, these charges sent him to prison for four years.

The government also charged him with identity theft because his fake ID card had an actual person's Social Security number. Flores-Figueroa disputed the charge because he said he did not realize the Social Security number was real.

There are about 1 billion combinations to any nine digit number like those used for Social Security, his lawyer, Kevin Russell, told the justices. And of those, about 400 million have been used.


Russell argued that Flores-Figueroa was not guilty of that charge because he did not know he had the "identification of another person." Most of the justices sounded as though they agreed.