You are here

8.81 Fraud in Connection With Identification Documents—Possessing Another's Means of Identification

Printer-friendly version


The defendant is charged in [Count ______ of] the indictment with [possessing] [transferring] [using] another person’s means of identification without lawful authority in violation of Section 1028(a)(7) of Title 18 of the United States Code. In order for the defendant to be found guilty of that charge, the government must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

First, the defendant knowingly [transferred] [possessed] [used] a means of identification of another person;

Second, the defendant did so without lawful authority;

[Third, the defendant intended to commit [specify unlawful activity]; and]


[Third, the defendant aided or abetted [specify unlawful activity]; and]


[Third, the defendant [transferred] [possessed] [used] the means of identification in connection with [specify unlawful activity]; and]

[Fourth, [transfer] [possession] [use] of the means of identification of another person was in or affected commerce between one state and [an]other state[s], or between a state of the United States and a foreign country];


[Fourth, [in the course of [transfer] [possession] [use], the means of identification was transported in the mail.]


The first, second, and third elements are drawn from 18 U.S.C. § 1028(a)(7); the fourth element is drawn from § 1028(c)(3). The unlawful activity must be a violation of federal law or be a felony under applicable state or local law. 18 U.S.C. § 1028(a)(7).

A § 1028(a)(7) conviction requires no evidence of an underlying crime. United States v. Sutcliffe, 505 F.3d 944, 960 (9th Cir.2007) ( "the government must only prove that the defendant committed the unlawful act with the requisite criminal intent, not that the defendant’s crime actually caused another crime to be committed").

Section 1028(d) provides definitions for the terms: "means of identification" and "transfer." The Ninth Circuit has held that a signature qualifies as a "means of identification." United States v. Blixt, 548 F.3d 882, 887 (9th Cir.2008).

Section 1028(b) provides for various enhanced statutory maximum penalties in certain circumstances such as when particular types of identification documents are involved or when their use occurs in connection with certain other criminal conduct. In the event that such enhanced penalties are charged, a special verdict form may need to be submitted to the jury regarding the presence or absence of such facts.