United States v. Sila, No. 17-11212 (5th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Defendant was convicted of two counts of theft of public funds, based on two fraudulent tax refunds (Count I and II), as well as aggravated identity theft (Count III). The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment with respect to Counts I and II and held that the district court did not err in failing to give a unanimity of theory instruction as to the location of the crime. In this case, the Government does not dispute that defendant's conduct in Dallas and his conduct in Kenya could have theoretically constituted two separate violations of 18 U.S.C. 641, but the Government maintains that it sought to convict defendant on Count I based only on his conduct in Dallas. Therefore, the two offenses are based solely on the one Dallas transaction.
However, the court held that the evidence was insufficient to support defendant's conviction on Count III because the Government presented no conclusive evidence showing that defendant had ever used the 139 IP address, much less that he used it to file (or help file) the Eipper tax refund. Accordingly, the court vacated as to Count III and remanded for resentencing.