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1319. National Stolen Property Act -- "Forged Endorsement"

There has been considerable dispute whether a "forged endorsement" is covered by the third paragraph of 18 U.S.C. § 2314. Relying in part upon the Supreme Court holding in Prussian v. United States, 282 U.S. 675 (1931), that a "forged endorsement" on a United States government security was not a forged obligation of the United States (as an endorsement can only be an obligation of the endorser), the courts starting with Streett v. United States, 331 F.2d 151 (8th Cir. 1961), have generally held, when specifically addressing the issue, that forged endorsements are not encompassed within the purview of the third paragraph of 18 U.S.C. § 2314. United States v. Tyson, 690 F.2d 9 (1st Cir. 1982); United States v. Sciortino, 601 F.2d 680 (2d Cir. 1979); United States v. Simpson, 577 F.2d 78 (9th Cir. 1978). In view of the general prosecution policy for these offenses, the fact that securities with forged endorsements are "converted or taken by fraud" (see United States v. Tyson, 690 F.2d 9), and the ability to aggregate converted checks having a sufficient relationship to reach the $5,000 figure, under the first paragraph of 18 U.S.C. § 2314, the absence of coverage of forged endorsements per se under the third paragraph may not be that detrimental to matters warranting federal prosecution. See this Manual at 1321.

It should be noted that the forged endorsement on a state or corporate security is now expressly covered by 18 U.S.C. § 513 (securities of the state and private entities). See this Manual at 1346 through 1348.

[cited in Criminal Resource Manual 1317; USAM 9-61.200]

Updated June 8, 2015