United States v. Popovski, No. 16-4178 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Popovski pleaded guilty to wire fraud, 18 U.S.C. 1343, for obtaining credit-card or debit-card numbers from abroad, encoding them onto blank cards and using those cards to withdraw money. Popovski was responsible for more than 1,000 account numbers but planned to use 800 of them in Peru. The district judge disregarded those 800 numbers, calculating intended loss based on actual or planned U.S. transactions, to conclude that the intended loss attributable to Popovski was $131,000, which added eight offense levels under U.S.S.G. 2B1.1. The judge sentenced Popovski to 30 months’ imprisonment; his Guidelines range was 27-33 months. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. Section 2B1.1 Application Note 3(F)(i) provides: “loss includes any unauthorized charges made with the counterfeit access device or unauthorized access device and shall be not less than $500 per access device.” Popovski unsuccessfully argued that cards with canceled numbers or with credit limits exhausted by earlier withdrawals should not count toward the number of devices. Popovski did not deny that he intended to steal from all of the persons whose account information he possessed; the Application Note indicates that his inability to carry out that intent does not diminish “loss.” That aggregate approach takes account of the possibility that some access devices won’t work, while others could produce more than $500.