United States v. Rodman

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 01-09-2015
  • Case #: 13-10337; 13-10351
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge M. Smith for the Court; Circuit Judges Silverman and Wallace
  • Full Text Opinion

Providing inaccurate information to a federal agency, via an agreement between two or more individuals, is sufficient to constitute a conspiracy to impair the function of that agency, even when no evidence exists to prove an additional injury to the agency.

Randolph Rodman, and five other defendants, were charged with conspiracy to defraud a United States agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”), after they entered into an agreement to unlawfully transfer machine guns by making fraudulent entries on ATF required forms. Codefendant George Clark and Rodman were both licensed firearms manufacturers. Clark built new machine guns and affixed serial numbers cut from pre-existing and lawfully registered machine guns. Rodman then sold the machine guns for a profit without disclosing the method of manufacture. The sale of machine guns requires the seller to fill out ATF forms listing the gun’s serial number, manufacturer, and model. The forms gave no notice the guns were newly manufactured, and were therefore banned. The ATF then approved these transfers. Rodman relied on Clark’s assurance that this method was legal. Rodman was convicted of conspiracy to defraud an agency of the United States. Rodman’s motions for acquittal and dismissal were both denied. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit held that providing inaccurate information to a federal agency, via an agreement between two or more individuals, is sufficient to constitute a conspiracy to impair the function of that agency, even when no evidence exists to prove an additional injury to the agency. Additionally, the panel held that licensed firearms dealers are only authorized government officials with regard to gathering and disseminating information. Rodman’s reliance on Clark’s assurance that the method was lawful was unreasonable because Rodman, also a licensed firearms manufacturer, was in as good of a position as Clark to determine the method’s lawfulness. AFFIRMED.

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