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Loughrin v. United States

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: June 23, 2014
Case #: 13-316
Kagan, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Roberts, C. J., and Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer and Sotomayor, JJ., joined, and in which Scalia and Thomas, JJ., joined as to Parts I and II, Part III-A except the last paragraph, and the final footnote of Part III-B. Scalia, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment, in which Thomas, J., joined. Alito, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in judgment.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/13-316_j3ko.pdf

Criminal Law: 18 U.S.C. ยง1344(2) does not require the government to prove that a defendant intended to defraud a financial institution.

Petitioner forged multiple checks used to purchase items from Target, and then returned the items for cash refunds. If Target did not catch the fraudulent checks, they would send the checks to federally insured banks for payment. This scheme served to obtain bank property by means of false statements.

The District Court refused to grant Petitioner’s proposed jury instructions that United States had to prove that Petitioner intended to defraud a financial institution. Petitioner was convicted and the Tenth Circuit affirmed the decision.

The Supreme Court holds that 18 U. S. C. §1344(2) does not require United States to prove that Petitioner intended to defraud a financial institution. Rather, it is enough that Petitioner intended to obtain bank property by means of a false statement, such as by forging checks to a retail store.

The Court reasoned that §1344(2) does not require proof that Petitioner intended to defraud a financial institution because §1344(1) requires such proof, and the language of the statute clearly indicates that §1344(2) is a separate clause with a separate meaning than §1344(1), rather than being encompassed by §1344(1). Furthermore, the statute is appropriately limited in scope to the pertinent federal interest.