State v. Barr, 218 N.C. App. 329 (Feb. 7, 2012)

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s request for an instruction on the defense of entrapment by estoppel. The defendant was charged with violating G.S. 14-454.1(a)(2) (unlawful to “willfully . . . access or cause to be accessed any government computer for the purpose of . . . [o]btaining property or services by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises”). The State alleged that the defendant, who worked for a private license plate agency, submitted false information into the State Title and Registration System (STARS) so that a car dealer whose dealer number was invalid could transfer title. The defendant asserted that she was told by a colleague named Granados, who was a licensed title clerk, how to enter the transaction. The court concluded that Granados was not a governmental official; Granados was an employee of the license plate agency, not the State of North Carolina, and the agency was a private contractor. It stated that a government license does not transform private licensees into governmental officials.