Making false statements

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Making false statements (18 U.S.C. § 1001) is the common name for the United States federal crime laid out in Section 1001 of Title 18 of the United States Code, which generally prohibits knowingly and willfully making false or fraudulent statements, or concealing information, in "any matter within the jurisdiction" of the federal government of the United States, even by mere denial.[1] A number of notable people have been convicted under the section, including Martha Stewart,[2] Rod Blagojevich,[3] Scooter Libby,[4] Bernard Madoff,[5] and Jeffrey Skilling.[6]

This statute is used in many contexts. Most commonly, prosecutors use this statute to reach cover-up crimes such as perjury, false declarations, and obstruction of justice and government fraud cases.[7]

Its earliest progenitor was the False Claims Act of 1863, and in 1934 the requirement of an intent to defraud was eliminated to enforce the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 (NIRA) against producers of "hot oil", oil produced in violation of production restrictions established pursuant to the NIRA.

Overview[edit]

The statute spells out this purpose in subsection 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a), which states:

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully—

(1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device[ , ] a material fact;
(2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or
(3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry
shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, …

Even constitutionally explicit Fifth Amendment rights do not exonerate affirmative false statements.[8] As the Court in Brogan v. United States said:[9]

Convictions[edit]

A number of notable people have been convicted under the section, including Martha Stewart, Rod Blagojevich, Scooter Libby, Bernard Madoff, and Jeffrey Skilling.

Many famous people have been charged under this law, including Najibullah Zazi (whose lying charge was later dropped after heftier charges were preferred against him),[10] Ali Saleh Kahlah Al-Marri, and Martha Stewart. There was also talk of prosecuting Tareq And Michaele Salahi under this statute. In the wake of such cases, many observers have concluded that it is best for anyone with the slightest degree of criminal exposure to refrain from submitting to an interview by government agents. Solomon L. Wisenberg suggests simply asking for the agent's business card and saying, "[M]y attorney will be in contact with you."[11] The invocation of counsel cannot be used against a defendant at trial.[12]

Jurisdiction[edit]

The jurisdictional element of the crime is defined as the "right to say and the power to act".[13] It applies to criminal investigations, such as false statements made in response to an inquiry by an FBI or other Federal agent, or made voluntarily to an agent.[13]

Courts have affirmed § 1001 convictions for false statements made to private entities receiving federal funds or subject to federal regulation or supervision.[14][15]

Some courts have recognized a "exculpatory no" exception for simple false denials of guilt in response to government initiated inquiries, while others have rejected it or done neither.[13]

History[edit]

The earliest statutory progenitor of §1001 was the original False Claims Act, adopted as the Act of March 2, 1863, 12 Stat. 696.[16] That enactment made it a criminal offense for any person, whether a civilian or a member of the military services, to:

… present or cause to be presented for payment or approval to or by any person or officer in the civil or military service of the United States, any claim upon or against the Government of the United States, or any department or officer thereof, knowing such claim to be false, fictitious, or fraudulent …

It was completely reworded by Pub.L. 65–228, 40 Stat. 1015, enacted October 23, 1918, which amended the statute to read:

… or whoever, for the purpose of obtaining or aiding to obtain the payment or approval of such claim, or for the purpose and with the intent of cheating and swindling or defrauding the Government of the United States, or any department thereof, or any corporation in which the United States of America is a stockholder, shall knowingly and willfully falsify or conceal or cover up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact, or make or cause to be made any false or fraudulent statements or representations, or make or use or cause to be made or used any false bill, receipt, voucher, roll, account, claim, certificate, affidavit, or deposition, owing the same to contain any fraudulent or fictitious statement or entry …

In 1934, the requirement of an intent to defraud was eliminated at the request of the Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, who wished to use the statute to enforce Section 9(c) of the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 (NIRA) against producers of "hot oil", oil produced in violation of production restrictions established pursuant to the NIRA,[17] when Pub.L. 73–394, 48 Stat. 996, enacted June 18, 1934, amended it to read:

… or whoever, for the purpose of obtaining or aiding to obtain the payment or approval of such claim, or for the purpose and with the intent of cheating and swindling or defrauding the Government of the United States, or any department thereof, or any corporation in which the United States of America is a stockholder, shall knowingly and willfully falsify or conceal or cover up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact, or make or cause to be made any false or fraudulent statements or representations, or make or use or cause to be made or used any false bill, receipt, voucher, roll, account, claim, certificate, affidavit, or deposition, knowing the same to contain any fraudulent or fictitious statement or entry, in any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States or of any corporation in which the United States of America is a stockholder

Pub.L. 80–772, 62 Stat. 683, enacted June 25, 1948, simplified it further and replaced it with:

Whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States knowingly and willfully falsifies, conceals or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact, or makes any false, fictitious or fraudulent statements or representations, or makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or entry …

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "18 U.S. Code 1001 - Statements or entries generally". http://www.law.cornell.edu. 
  2. ^ "Martha Stewart is found guilty of all charges". http://online.wsj.com. 7 March 2014. 
  3. ^ "Blagojevich asks judge to override false statements conviction". http://jurist.org. 14 September 2010. 
  4. ^ "Scooter Libby jokes". http://politicalhumor.about.com. 
  5. ^ "Madoff criminal charges: summary of the 11 counts against him". http://www.bloomberg.com. 11 March 2009. 
  6. ^ "Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling resentenced to 168 months on fraud and conspiracy charges". http://www.fbi.gov. 21 June 2013. 
  7. ^ Strader, Kelly J. Understanding White Collar Crime (2 ed.). 
  8. ^ United States v. Wong, 431 U.S. 174, 178 (1977)
  9. ^ Brogan v. United States, 396 U.S. 64, 72 (1969)
  10. ^ Kusa-Tv
  11. ^ How to Avoid Going to Jail under 18 U.S.C. Section 1001 for Lying to Government Agents - FindLaw
  12. ^ United States v. McDonald, 620 F.2d 559, 561-64 (5th Cir. 1980).
  13. ^ a b c United States Attorneys' Manual, Title 9, Criminal Resource Manual § 916.
  14. ^ United States Attorneys' Manual, Title 9, Criminal Resource Manual § 906.
  15. ^ United States Attorneys' Manual, Title 9, Criminal Resource Manual § 913.
  16. ^ Hubbard v. United States, 514 U.S. 695 (1995)
  17. ^ United States v. Gilliland, 312 US 86, 93-94 (1941) (“Legislation had been sought by the Secretary of the Interior to aid the enforcement of laws relating to the functions of the Department of the Interior and, in particular, to the enforcement of regulations under Sec. 9(c) of the [NIRA].”).