Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Williams: "False" is distinct from "Fictitious"

In U.S. v. Williams, No. 13-13042 (June 22, 2015), the Court held that the use of fake checks bearing the account and routing numbers of another person’s bank account qualified as passing a “false or fraudulent” instrument under 18 U.S.C. § 514. The Court rejected the argument that “false and fictitious” referred to non-existent types of instruments, such as a three-dollar bill. The Court noted that the term “false” was distinct from the term “fictitious.” The Court noted Williams’ argument that he could have been prosecuted under a separate “counterfeited” security statute, noting that a defendant can be prosecuted for similar conduct under separate statutes. The Court also rejected Williams’ challenge to his conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 1029 for unauthorized use of an “access device,” finding that a bank routing number plainly qualified as an access device. Finally, the Court rejected Williams’ argument that his offense of violating his terms of supervised release did not qualify as a “failure to appear” offense under 18 U.S.C. § 3146(b).