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High court strikes down ‘Postville tactic’

NEW YORK (JTA) — The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a legal tool that was used to prosecute illegal workers at a kosher slaughterhouse.

In a unanimous ruling, the court ruled Monday that in order to be charged with aggravated identity theft, a worker who uses a false Social Security number must know that the number belonged to an actual person, the Forward reported.

Following a massive raid at the Agriprocessors kosher slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa, last year, hundreds of workers were charged with aggravated identity theft for using Social security numbers that belonged to actual people, rather than fake numbers that were unassigned. Legal professionals familiar with the Postville proceedings claim that the charge was used to pressure workers to plead guilty to the lesser crime of using fake Social Security numbers.

The justices did not mention the Agriprocessors raid in their decision.

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