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CRM 1500-1999

1505. Covered Instruments -- 18 U.S.C. 1028

  1. Identification Document -- This term is defined in 18 U.S.C. § 1028(d)(1) to mean:

    [A] document made or issued by or under the authority of . . . (a governmental entity) which, when completed with information concerning a particular individual, is of a type intended or commonly accepted for the purpose of identification of individuals.

    The document must be issued by a government agency and must identify a particular person. Hence, the term does not cover certificates of title or registration for motor vehicles since such documents identify vehicles, not persons. The term includes blank documents. The phrase "which, when completed with information," is intended to include blank identification documents within the coverage of section 1028. The description of an identification document will normally include such identifying elements as an individual's name, address, date or place of birth, physical description, photograph, fingerprints, employer, profession, occupation, or any unique number assigned to an individual by a governmental entity. Whether a document is "intended" to identify an individual is determined by looking at the purpose for which the governmental agency issued it. Examples of such documents would be passports, alien registration cards, Justice Department credentials, etc. The term "commonly accepted" is intended to cover identification documents which may not have been intended to serve as an identification document when originally issued, but have, nevertheless, become such a document in common usage. Examples would be birth certificates, driver's licenses, social security cards, etc. However, "commonly accepted" does not require that the document be accepted for identification purposes under any and all circumstances, but rather that it is accepted in situations where a document of that nature would reasonably be accepted for identification purposes. Of course, an identification document can be both "intended" and "commonly accepted." Although an identification document is usually made of paper or plastic, the term may also include badges for law enforcement officers if such a badge has a unique number on it which is assigned to a particular officer for the purpose of identifying that officer. The term refers to a tangible document and not merely the information contained on such a document (e.g., a Social Security number by itself is not an identification document under 18 U.S.C. §  1028. However, the use of someone else's Social Security number, or a false one, with intent to deceive any person for the purpose of obtaining anything of value from such person may be in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 408(g)(2).) A Social Security card itself, however, is clearly an identification document under 18 U.S.C. § 1028. See United States v. Quanteros, 769 F.2d 968 (4th Cir. 1985).

  2. Document-Making Implement -- This term is defined in 18 U.S.C. §  1028(d)(3) to mean:

    any implement or impression specially designed or primarily used for making an identification document, a false identification document, or another document-making implement.

    It obviously includes plates, dyes, stamps, and molds and other "tools" used to make identification documents. Another example of a document-making implement could be a device specially designed or primarily used to produce a small photograph and assemble laminated identification cards. The term may also include any official seal or signature, or text in a distinctive typeface and layout that when reproduced are part of an identification document. In cases in which specialized paper or ink or other materials are used in the production of an identification document, those items would be document-making implements. The term does not, however, include office photocopying machines because such machines are designed for more general purposes (i.e., not "specially designed or primarily used for" making identification and false identification documents). However, persons who use such machines to manufacture false identification documents or who provide them to another for the same purpose could be guilty of other offenses under 18 U.S.C. § 1028.

[cited in JM 9-64.400]