The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to examine what constitutes identity theft in a fraud. David Dubin, a managing partner at his father’s mental-health testing company, was convicted of health care fraud for filing a phony Medicaid reimbursement form. Because Dubin used a patient's name when filing a false claim, the government brought charges for identity theft as well, Courthouse News Service reports. In 2013, PARTS — Dubin’s father’s company — was asked to evaluate the patient, but the exam was cut short when Dubin’s father realized the patient’s Medicaid benefits had been exhausted. Despite the incomplete exam, Dubin instructed an employee to file a fraudulent reimbursement claim to Medicaid that included the patient’s name and identification number. A jury found Dubin guilty of health care fraud and identity fraud and sentenced him to three years in prison. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed.
Dubin petitioned the high court, asking if aggravated identity theft can occur anytime someone’s name is used while committing a crime. Congress created the Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act in 2004 to crack down on the growing problem of identity theft. The statute does not cover identity theft alone but rather when it occurs during the course of someone using another person’s personal data that involves fraud or deception. This law provides for a mandatory two-year sentence that must be stacked on top of the predicate felony. For Dubin, it almost triples his sentence. “The reach of the aggravated identity theft statute is also extremely important,” wrote Jeffrey Fisher, an attorney for Dubin with the Stanford Law School Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, in his petition.