Monday, November 4th, 2013

United States v. Nunez-Banuelos: Circuit Upholds Convictions for Misusing Social Security Number and for Wire Fraud

In United States v. Nunez-Banuelos, No. 12-85-cr (2d Cir. Nov. 4, 2013) (summary order), the Circuit upheld the defendant’s convictions of misusing a social security number in violation of 42 U.S.C. 408(a)(7)(B) and of wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1341. The evidence at trial showed that the defendant used a social security number that he had made up to obtain unemployment benefits from the Connecticut Department of Labor.

On appeal, the defendant argued that the evidence was insufficient to establish that he had the requisite intent to deceive. He claimed that he did not know that only United States citizens and aliens lawfully residing in the United States could receive unemployment benefits.

The Circuit rejected the defendant’s arguments. The trial evidence showed that the application for unemployment benefits asked the defendant to submit an alien registration number if he was not a citizen but that the defendant submitted a fictional social security number and falsely claimed to be a United States citizen. Based on this evidence, the jury could conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knew that, unless he deceived the Department of Labor, he could not obtain unemployment benefits. Accordingly, the Circuit affirmed.

The summary order can be viewed here.   

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