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Anaman v. Commonwealth

Court of Appeals of Virginia

February 24, 2015

JOSHUA DADZIE ANAMAN, S/K/A JOSHUA E. DADZIE-ANAMAN
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

Page 701

FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF ARLINGTON COUNTY. Louise M. DiMatteo, Judge.

Allison H. Carpenter, Senior Assistant Public Defender (Office of the Public Defender, on brief), for appellant.

Elizabeth C. Kiernan, Assistant Attorney General (Mark R. Herring, Attorney General, on brief), for appellee.

Present: Judges Humphreys, Beales and McCullough.

OPINION

Page 702

[64 Va.App. 382] RANDOLPH A. BEALES,  JUDGE

Joshua Dadzie Anaman (appellant) appeals his seven convictions by a jury for credit card theft, in violation of Code § 18.2-192, and his four convictions for unlawful use of a card scanning device or re-encoder, in violation of Code § 18.2-196.1.[1] Appellant argues that the trial court erred when it [64 Va.App. 383] allowed into evidence a " Declaration of Unauthorized Use" form (Exhibit 5F) that one of the victims had completed after Citibank notified her that unauthorized charges had appeared on her credit card. Appellant further argues that the evidence was insufficient to support any of his eleven convictions. We hold that the trial court did not err when it allowed Exhibit 5F into evidence -- and that the evidence was sufficient to support each of appellant's for credit card theft and his convictions for unlawful use of a card scanning device or re-encoder.

I. Background

We consider the evidence on appeal " 'in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth, as we must since it was the prevailing party'" in the trial court. Beasley v. Commonwealth, 60 Va.App. 381, 391, 728 S.E.2d 499, 504 (2012) (quoting Riner v. Commonwealth, 268 Va. 296, 330, 601 S.E.2d 555, 574 (2004)).

In this case, each of the victims rented a car from the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport Budget Rental Car (Budget) branch sometime during August of 2011. Appellant began working for Budget on March 15, 2011, and stopped working for Budget on November 30, 2011. Shortly after renting a car from Budget, unauthorized charges would appear on each of the victims' credit cards or debit[2] cards that he or she had used to rent a car from Budget. The rental paperwork for each of the victims indicated that appellant, who was identified in the rental paperwork by his agent ID number,[3] had conducted the rental transaction for each of the [64 Va.App. 384] victims. All of the victims who testified at trial indicated that they had not given appellant permission to withhold their credit card numbers or to use a card scanner to capture information from their credit cards.

A. The Card Scanning Device and Re-Encoder

Code § 18.2-196.1 defines " scanning device" as follows: " a scanner, reader, or any other electronic device that is used to access, read, scan, obtain, memorize, temporarily store, or permanently store encoded information on the magnetic strip or stripe of a payment card." Code § 18.2-196.1 further defines " Re-encoder" as follows: " an electronic device that transfers encoded information

Page 703

from the magnetic strip or stripe of a payment card onto the magnetic strip or stripe of a different payment card."

Angel Ruiz, who is a detective with the airport police and had been investigating appellant's case, testified that card scanners " are portable devices that usually can be held in your hands and manipulated such that you don't have to -- they're not visible to anybody else." He further explained that card scanning devices " are small enough where they can fit in your palm" and that " all you have to do -- you can actually walk by a woman's purse or a man's wallet and glide by their wallet or purse, and it will capture their credit card data." Ruiz opined that card scanners " are probably used by individuals that are conducting some kind of criminal activity." Ruiz explained that a person can use the information obtained on a card scanning device in one of two ways: (1) he or she can use the information obtained on the scanning device to make fraudulent purchases online, or (2) he or she can use a re-encoding device to transfer the information the scanning device has [64 Va.App. 385] captured onto the magnetic strip of another card, such as an old credit card or a hotel key with a magnetic strip. Ruiz testified that, during his interview with appellant, appellant stated that he used a card scanning device that required only a tap of a card to the device to capture all of the information associated with the card.

B. The Cardholders Who Testified at Trial

M.M.[4] testified that he rented a car from Budget on August 14, 2011. Although M.M. was not certain if his credit card was out of sight during the rental transaction, M.M. did recognize appellant as the rental associate who assisted him with the transaction. In addition, M.M.'s Budget rental paperwork referenced appellant's agent ID number. Shortly after M.M. rented his car from Budget, on August 16, 2011, unauthorized transactions appeared on the card that M.M. had used to rent his car. Specifically, M.M.'s credit card was used to purchase a $500 gift card from Wal-Mart.

C.J. testified that she rented a car from Budget on August 12, 2011. C.J. testified that the rental agent from whom she rented her car told her he was from Ghana, which is appellant's country of origin. C.J.'s rental paperwork referenced appellant's agent ID number and, on August 13, 2011, just one day after renting a car from Budget, unauthorized charges of $1,300 appeared on the card that C.J. had used to rent her car. C.J. testified that her credit card was out of sight during the transaction.

Another of the victims, P.W., rented a car from Budget on August 19, 2011. On August 24, 2011 and on August 26, 2011, unauthorized charges totaling $752.12 appeared on the credit card he used to rent his car. Although P.W. did not remember who assisted him with his rental transaction, his rental paperwork referenced appellant's agent ID number. P.W. believed that the rental agent took his card out of his sight during the transaction.

[64 Va.App. 386] D.L. testified that he rented a car from Budget on August 21, 2011. Just a few days later, on August 24, 2011, unauthorized charges for gasoline appeared on the credit card he used to rent the car from Budget. D.L. did not recognize the person who conducted his rental that his credit card was within his sight throughout the rental transaction.

J.N., yet another victim, testified that he had rented a car from Budget on August 7, 2011. Shortly thereafter, on August 13, 2011, unauthorized charges of $1,250 appeared on the debit card that J.N. had used to rent his car from Budget. Although J.N. did not recognize the person who processed his rental transaction, J.N.'s rental data referenced appellant's agent ID number. J.N. did not recall whether his debit card was within his sight at all times during the rental transaction.

Finally, E.V. testified that he rented a car from Budget on August 20, 2011. On August 30, 2011, ...


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