United States v Holden

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 12-03-2015
  • Case #: 13-30308
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Court Judge Gould for the Court; Circuit Judges Hawkins an Ikuta
  • Full Text Opinion

When defining continuing offense, a court will look at either explicit language of the substantive law on point, or the intent of Congress in creating the law coupled with the nature of the crime committed.

Dr. Curtis Holden practiced medicine at Advanced Podiatry Specialist, P.S., who treated patients covered by various health insurance programs. He was subsequently charged with fifty-six counts of health care fraud under 18 U.S.C. § 1347 for “false statements relating to health care matters.” The district court rejected Dr. Holden’s statute of limitations challenge as to Count 41. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit decided whether the relief sought as to Count 41 was, in fact, barred by the state of limitations. Health care fraud committed under 18 U.S.C. § 1347 is a continuing offense as long as there is an ongoing single health care scheme. The court stated that a continuing offense specifically includes: “(1) an ongoing course of conduct that causes (2) a harm that lasts as long as that course of conduct persists.” The panel reasoned that similar to the Fifth Circuit and the Ninth Circuit’s previous decisions, 18 U.S.C. § 1347 has been ruled to be a continuing offense. When defining a continuing offense, the court will look at whether (1)” the explicit language of the substantive criminal statute compels such a conclusion”; or (2) “the nature of the crime involved is such that Congress must assuredly have intended that it be treated as continuing one.” In this case, there was only one scheme occurring, which was done “knowingly and willfully” which involved “materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises, money owned by and under the custody and control of Medicare.” As a result, the panel agreed with the District Court and found Defendant guilty of 32 counts of health care fraud. AFFIRMED.

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