Skip to content
Name: People v. Valenzuela
Case #: B230574
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 04/30/2012
Summary

A defendant may be convicted of three counts of identity theft under Penal Code section 530.5, subdivision (c)(1), based upon his or her possession of personal identifying information relating to three victims. Appellant was found in possession of a stolen driver’s license and a printout from a website that advertised the sale of people’s personal identifying information. The names of three individuals and other identifying information were listed on the printout. The possession of personal identifying information related to several people did not constitute a single offense under Penal Code section 530.5, subdivision (c)(1). The legislative history demonstrates that the retention of personal identifying information is a unique theft crime, not a possession crime. Identity theft, unlike grand theft, creates ripples of harm that flow from the initial misappropriation and severely disrupts the victims’ lives. Cases holding that the possession of multiple items is a single offense even when there are multiple victims are not applicable to Penal Code section 530.5, subdivision (c)(1). Instead, the retention of personal identifying information of multiple victims constitutes multiple identity theft offenses. Appellant was properly charged with and convicted of three counts of identity theft.