Amendment: The Commentary to §3B1.3 captioned "Application Notes" is amended in the first paragraph of Note 1 in the third sentence by striking “enhancement” and inserting “adjustment”; by inserting "public or private" after "position of"; in the fourth sentence by striking "would apply" and inserting "applies"; and in the last sentence by striking "would" and inserting "does.".

The Commentary to §3B1.3 captioned "Application Notes" is amended by redesignating Note 2 as Note 3; and by inserting the following as new Note 2:

"2. This adjustment also applies in a case in which the defendant provides sufficient indicia to the victim that the defendant legitimately holds a position of private or public trust when, in fact, the defendant does not. For example, the adjustment applies in the case of a defendant who (A) perpetrates a financial fraud by leading an investor to believe the defendant is a legitimate investment broker; or (B) perpetrates a fraud by representing falsely to a patient or employer that the defendant is a licensed physician. In making the misrepresentation, the defendant assumes a position of trust, relative to the victim, that provides the defendant with the same opportunity to commit a difficult-to-detect crime that the defendant would have had if the position were held legitimately.".

The Commentary to §3B1.3 captioned "Background" is amended by inserting after the first sentence the following:

"The adjustment also applies to persons who provide sufficient indicia to the victim that they legitimately hold a position of public or private trust when, in fact, they do not.".

Reason for Amendment: The purpose of this amendment is to establish that the two-level increase for abuse of a position of trust applies to a defendant who is an imposter, as well as to a person who legitimately holds and abuses a position of trust. This amendment resolves a circuit conflict on that issue. Compare United States v. Gill, 99 F.3d 484 (1st Cir. 1996) (adjustment applied to defendant who posed as licensed psychologist), and United States v. Queen, 4 F.3d 925 (10th Cir. 1993) (adjustment applied to defendant who posed as financial broker), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1182 (1994), with United States v. Echevarria, 33 F.3d 175 (2d Cir. 1994) (defendant who poses as physician does not occupy a position of trust). The amendment adopts the majority appellate view and provides that the abuse of position of trust adjustment applies to an imposter who pretends to hold a position of trust when in fact he does not. The Commission has determined that, particularly from the perspective of the crime victim, an imposter who falsely assumes and takes advantage of a position of trust is as culpable and deserving of increased punishment as is a defendant who abuses an actual position of trust.

Effective Date: The effective date of this amendment is November 1, 1998