Multiple Counts of Identity Fraud
There is little doubt as to whether or not a person is subject to multiple violations of a state statute that makes it a crime to “knowingly obtain, possess, use, or transfer a means of identification of financial information of another” (Wash. 2006) if a person attempts to use a credit card that is not his or hers more than once. Such a person certainly is liable for multiple criminal counts. The logic that reinforces this assertion is quite clear. In most instances, states consider it a crime to attempt to utilize the financial information or some other means of identification of another — when a person does so knowingly. Each time a person makes such an attempt, he or she is committing a crime. Moreover, there was a case that helped to establish this precedent in the early part of the last decade. In that case, State v. Leyda, the Court of Appeals Division of Washington, Division 1 found that the defendant, Steven Leyda, was guilty of multiple counts of using a credit card multiple times.
Perhaps the crux of the matter discussed within this document is whether or not the notion of double jeopardy applies to such a crime. This notion is the concept that a person cannot be tried twice for the same crime, or charged multiple times for one purported transgression of the law. This tenet applies to the situation identified within this document (as well as to the Leyda case) in that, based on double jeopardy, one could attempt to argue that Leyda’s crime was in utilizing a stolen credit card. Specifically, this logic would hold that Leyda’s crime was in stealing the credit card, and that his subsequent uses of it were all manifestations of this initial, and sole crime.
Therefore, it is extremely relevant to note that this argument posed by Leyda was actually rejected — both during his initial trial and during the review of this case by the aforementioned court of appeals. Again, the basis of the rejection pertains to the actual conception of what crime Leyda committed. In terms of his usage of the credit cards, Leyda was tried and convicted for each time he used the cards. His defense was that since it was the same credit card in each of those instances, he should only be tried for one count, and not multiple…