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And there are several statutes prohibiting fraud against the government, for example, the statute at 18 U. The first thing to note is that this version of conspiracy, despite its broad wording, is still normally used to prosecute everyday offenses against the United States government involving money or property. Nevertheless, the federal courts have clearly held—albeit with ambivalence about the legal principles—that the statute protects the functioning of the United States government as a whole and any of its functioning parts.
The law dates from the Nineteenth Century and was originally and primarily designed to catch tax cheats. In the still-relevant-precedent of Hammerschmidt v. Recent cases have endorsed the broad reading of the broad language of Section Dean , a HUD employee was convicted of the decidedly less-than-monumental purpose of corrupt management of and realizing personal gain from a HUD program. In United States v. Coplan , the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued a highly unusual decision in which it overturned jury verdicts based on the insufficiency of the evidence, rather than on procedural mistakes or erroneous trial court rulings.
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Nevertheless, the Second Circuit went on to overturn two conspiracy counts due to insufficient evidence. However, whether the Russian deceit and trickery is actually a criminal fraud against the United States is another question, a question that a jury would ultimately have to decide. The difference in the facts and the stakes of the two cases can hardly be compared. Such matters have never been the subject of the criminal law, and no one has ever been prosecuted for or convicted of such a crime.
Ascik has written about legal and constitutional issues at a variety of websites.
About the Author. Very interesting piece and analysis of these conspiracy charges. Unfortunately, shy of trying the defendants in absentia, or of the U. Your email address will not be published. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site brings together serious debate, commentary, essays, book reviews, interviews, and educational material in a commitment to the first principles of law in a free society. About Contact Staff.
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Comments Very interesting piece and analysis of these conspiracy charges.