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1321. National Stolen Property Act -- Exceptions And The Proviso Clause

In the last paragraph of both 18 U.S.C. §§ 2314 and 2315, there is a proviso clause that makes these sections inapplicable to certain falsely made, forged, altered, or counterfeit securities. Although the language of the proviso clause is confusing, its legislative intent is clear. In enacting in 1939 what is now the third and fifth paragraphs of 18 U.S.C. § 2314 and the second and third paragraphs of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2315, Congress intended to exclude from the coverage of these provisions those securities already protected by existing federal counterfeit laws. These securities are all governmental or quasi-governmental in nature. They include all securities and obligations issued by the United States government. See, e.g., 18 U.S.C. §§  471, 472, 500; see United States v. Galardi, 476 F.2d 1072 (9th Cir. 1973). They also include those foreign securities covered originally by the Act of May 16, 1884, (Ch. 52, 23 Stat. 22). See United States v. Arjona, 120 U.S. 479 (1887). These provisions are now codified in 18 U.S.C. §§ 478, 479, 480, 481, 482 and 483. Checks, money orders, and other securities issued by foreign banks or corporations which are not intended to circulate as currency are within the reach of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2314 and 2315. See United States v. Burger, 728 F.2d 140 (2d. Cir. 1984); United States v. Noe, 634 F.2d 860 (5th Cir. 1981); United States v. Ortiz, 444 F. Supp. 81 (W.D.Tex. 1977).

[cited in Criminal Resource Manual 1319; USAM 9-61.200]

Updated May 22, 2015