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Using false S.S. number not impersonation

DENVER, Oct. 28 (UPI) -- A man who used a woman's Social Security number to get a car loan did not commit criminal impersonation, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled.

The 4-3 decision reversed Felix Montes-Rodriguez's conviction for using the Social Security number of a woman he didn't know.

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"He gave his correct address, birth date and place of employment," Justice Michael Bender wrote for the court.

"Most importantly, he gave his correct name. In the face of so much accurate identifying information, we cannot conclude that Montes-Rodriguez pretended to be another person in his loan application simply because he supplied a false Social Security number. Hence, we conclude that Montes-Rodriguez did not assume a false identity."

Dissenting Justice Nathan Coats wrote for the minority that he believed not only that the court misconstrued the criminal-impersonation statute and reached the wrong decision in the case, but also that "by slicing, dicing, parsing, distinguishing and generally over-analyzing (over the course of some 30 paragraphs) one short and relatively self-explanatory phrase, the majority manages to exclude from the statutory proscription conduct lying at its very heart."

Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett, whose deputies prosecuted Montes-Rodriguez in 2006, said the ruling would have little influence in similar cases because new identity-theft laws address the crime of using Social Security numbers without authorization, The Denver Post reported.

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