Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Grant: Full face value of counterfeit checks

In U.S. v. Grant, No. 04-12268 (Nov. 29, 2005), the Court upheld a loss amount calculation, for sentencing purposes for a defendant convicted of producing and possessing counterfeit corporate checks, which included the full face amount of checks found in the defendant’s possession.
The Court noted that the Guidelines direct courts to measure "intended loss." The Court noted authority in other circuits that one can assumed that a defendant intended to utilize the full face value of worthless checks. The Court analogized to credit card theft, in which it has held that the intended loss includes the total line of credit to which defendants have access. The Court further pointed to circumstantial evidence that Grant intended to utilize the full face value of the checks, and to Grant’s inability to point to countervailing evidence. In a footnote, the Court dismissed the impossibility of a defendant’s using the full face value of a counterfeit check (because the account had insufficient funds), noting that the defendant’s subjective intent governs the loss calculation under the Guidelines.