United States v. Jinian

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 03-26-2013
  • Case #: 11-10593
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Murguia for the Court, Concurrence by Circuit Judge Christen; Circuit Judge D. Nelson
  • Full Text Opinion

Interstate wire transfer of money under 18 U.S.C. § 1343 “furthers a fraudulent scheme” where the interstate wiring allows the fraud to continue over time and is essential to making the transferred funds permanently available to the perpetrator of the fraud.

Ethan Farid Jinian, convicted of wire fraud under 18 U.S.C. § 1343, appealed from the district court’s denial of his motions for judgment of acquittal. Jinian fraudulently wired over $1.5 million from the California company where he was employed as CEO and deposited the amount in his personal bank account. Jinian argued that the routine wire transfers were not so closely associated with the fraud as to be “part of the execution of the fraud,” asserting that the wiring occurred after the fraudulent deposit and was therefore not involved in the fraud itself. The panel disagreed, noting the ongoing nature of the fraudulent activity and the role of the wire transfer in making the deposit permanently accessible to Jinian. Jinian next argued that the jury instructions failed to adequately address foreseeability of an interstate transaction and that there was insufficient evidence of such foreseeability. The panel held that because “the interstate requirement in 18 U.S.C. §1343 is jurisdictional and not a substantive element of fraud offense,” the state was not required to prove mens rea as to the interstate nature of the crime. Finally, the panel rejected Jinian’s constitutional challenge to 18 U.S.C. § 1343, finding congressional authority for the statute within the Commerce Clause. AFFIRMED.

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