The People of the State of Colorado, Petitioner/Cross-Respondent
Daniela Molina, Respondent/Cross-Petitioner
to the Colorado Court of Appeals Court of Appeals Case No.
Affirmed in Part, Reversed in Part
Attorneys for Petitioner/Cross-Respondent: Cynthia H.
Coffman, Attorney General Kevin E. McReynolds, Assistant
Attorney General Denver, Colorado
Attorneys for Respondent/Cross-Petitioner: Douglas K. Wilson,
Public Defender Anne T. Amicarella, Deputy Public Defender
This case comes to us on certiorari review of the court of
appeals' unpublished opinion, People v. Molina,
No. 11CA1650 (Colo.App. June 19, 2014). In this case, a jury
convicted Daniela Molina of two counts of identity theft and
three counts of forgery. We granted certiorari to resolve
three issues: (1) whether the People must show that Molina
knew she stole another person's information; (2) whether
there was sufficient evidence that Molina knew she stole a
real person's information; and (3) whether an apartment
lease and employment qualify under the identity theft statute
as "thing[s] of value." We answer all three
questions in the affirmative. Therefore, we affirm in part
and reverse in part the court of appeals and remand this case
for proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Facts and Procedural History
The defendant in this case, Daniela Molina, used the last
name and social security number (SSN) of another person,
D.K., to obtain an apartment lease and
employment. A jury later convicted Molina of two
counts of identity theft and three counts of forgery.
Molina appealed to the court of appeals, arguing that there
was insufficient evidence to prove all the elements of
identity theft and forgery. The court of appeals (1) held
that the People were required to prove that Molina knew she
had stolen the information of a real person; (2) held that
there was insufficient evidence that Molina knew the last
name and SSN she used belonged to a real person; (3) vacated
her identity theft convictions; and (4) affirmed her forgery
convictions. Molina, slip op. at 8-9.
The court of appeals declined to reach Molina's argument
that the term "thing of value" in the identity
theft statute only pertained to items with pecuniary value
and therefore neither employment nor an apartment lease were
"thing[s] of value." Id. at 9. The People
and Molina both sought certiorari, which we granted.
To convict a defendant of identity theft, the People must
show that the defendant knew the information belonged
to another person.
The People argue that we incorrectly decided People v.
Perez, 2016 CO 12, ¶ 33, 367 P.3d 695, 702, when we
held that, in order to prove identity theft, the People must
show that the defendant knowingly used the identifying
information of another person. Disagreeing with the People,
we affirm the court of appeals' opinion on this issue.
Under section 18-5-902(1)(a), C.R.S. (2016), a person commits
identity theft if he or she "[k]nowingly uses the
personal identifying information, financial identifying
information, or financial device of another without
permission or lawful authority with the intent to obtain
cash, credit, property, services, or any other thing of value
or to make a financial payment . . . ." Under section
18-1-503(4), C.R.S. (2016), when a criminal statute
prescribes a specified culpable mental state as an element,