The US Supreme Court agreed to consider the scope of an identity theft statute in a case that highlights what criminal defense lawyers say are the excessive number of laws and regulations carrying criminal penalties.
On Thursday, the justices agreed to review David Dubin’s Medicaid identity theft conviction. Durbin, who was a managing partner at a psychological services company, overbilled for mental health services at an emergency shelter, according to the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
He argues that in addition to prosecuting him for healthcare fraud for submitting false Medicaid claims, the government also charged him with aggravated identity theft because he used a patient’s name when submitting those bills. The aggravated identity theft charge carries with it a mandatory two-year prison sentence on top of the healthcare fraud charge, and, in Durbin’s case, tripled his jail time.
The justices in recent terms have sought to rein in broad application of federal criminal laws, particularly with regard to white collar crimes.
The “sweeping application” of the identity theft statute in Dubin’s case “is a symptom of the federal overcriminalization epidemic, enabling unelected prosecutors to consolidate even more charging and plea-bargaining power,” the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers told the justices in urging them to take up the case.
The case is Dubin v. United States, U.S., No. 22-10.
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