You are here

913. Department or Agency

For cases before the 1996 amendments, in Hubbard v. United States, 115 S.Ct. 1754 (1995), the United States Supreme Court concluded that a court is neither a "department" nor an "agency" under § 1001. The court thereby overruled United States v. Bramblett, 348 U.S. 503 (1955), a case broadly construing 18 U.S.C. § 1001 in holding that the word "department" in Section 1001 was meant to extend the statute's reach to all three branches of government. Section 6 of Title 18, United States Code, defines the words department and agency.

Although the Hubbard opinion left open the possibility that a judicial or legislative entity might still be considered an "agency" under section 1001, several courts have interpreted Hubbard broadly to mean that section 1001 applies only to false statements made to the executive branch. See, e.g., United States v. Dean, 55 F.3d 640 (D.C. Cir. 1995), cert. denied, 116 S.Ct. 1288 (1996); United States v. Rostenkowski, 59 F.3d 1291, 1301 (D.C. Cir. 1995). As of this writing, there is still pending in the District of Columbia Circuit an interlocutory appeal concerning whether the old version of section 1001, even after Hubbard, still applies to financial disclosure statements that Members of Congress filed, pursuant to the Ethics in Government Act, with the Clerk of the House of Representatives before October 11, 1996. See United States v. Oakar, No. 96-3084 (D.C. Cir.). Prosecutors therefore should not concede, in any pleadings or arguments presented in federal courts, that the old section 1001 does not apply to such statements, at least until the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decides this case.

The 1996 statute effectively overrules Hubbard, and expressly provides that section 1001 covers false statements that are made to all three branches of the federal government, without regard to whether the entity may be categorized as a "department" or "agency."

Under both the pre-1996 and post-1996 statutes, the government is not required to prove that the defendant had actual knowledge that the false statement in question was within the jurisdiction of a Federal department or agency. See United States v. Yermian, 468 U.S. 63, 68 (1984); on remand, 741 F.2d 267 (1984). Nor must the government prove that the defendant had the specific intent to deceive the Federal government. Yermian, 468 U.S. at 73. After United States v. Gaudin, 115 S.Ct.2310 (1995), the element of agency jurisdiction is probably a jury issue. But cf. United States v. Rodgers, 466 U.S. 475, 479 (1984); United States v. Diaz, 690 F.2d 1352 (11th Cir. 1982); United States v. Goldstein, 695 F.2d 1228 (10th Cir. 1981), cert. denied, 462 U.S. 1132 (1983). The requirement that the statement must be "within the jurisdiction" of a federal agency is to be interpreted broadly. Rodgers; United States v. Notarantonio, 758 F.2d 777, 787 (1st Cir. 1985). For liability under Section 1001 to attach, it is necessary only that the "false statements . . . result in the perversion of the authorized functions of a federal department or agency." United States v. Gilliland, 312 U.S. 86, 93 (1941); Notarantonio, 758 F.2d at 787.

In United States v. Candella, 487 F.2d 1223 (2d Cir. 1973) cert. denied, 415 U.S. 977 (1974), for example, false affidavits submitted by movers were executed on forms prepared by the City of New York and not by the Department of Housing and Urban Development; but the false affidavits were within the purview of 18 U.S.C. § 1001, because the city had entered into a contract with the United States prompting the move, the government was ultimately responsible for paying the moving expenses, and the movers were aware of the relationship between the government and the city.

Candella makes clear that Section 1001 "does not require that the false statement must actually have been submitted to a department or agency of the United States, but rather that it was contemplated that the statement was to be utilized in a matter which was within the jurisdiction of such department or agency." Id. at 1227. In Candella, one of the purposes of the records was to provide an "audit trail" for Federal program auditors. See also United States v. Kraude, 467 F.2d 37 (9th Cir. 1972), cert. denied, 409 U.S. 1076 (1972); United States v. Waters, 457 F.2d 805 (3d Cir. 1972). In United States v. Munoz, 392 F. Supp. 183 (E.D. Mich. 1974), aff'd, 529 F.2d 526 (6th Cir. 1975), the Department of Labor had authority to regulate the use of funds distributed through a national organization that was a contractor to the Department of Labor, to a state-chartered non-profit organization that was a subcontractor to the national organization. Any false statement submitted to the state-chartered organization under such circumstances was held to be a matter within the "jurisdiction of an agency or department of the United States." Munoz reaffirms not only the proposition that the fraud need not be perpetrated directly on or to the governmental agency involved but also that the term "jurisdiction" in Section 1001 should not be given a narrow or technical meaning. See also Bryson v. United States, 396 U.S. 64 (1969).

[cited in USAM 9-42.001]

Updated June 9, 2015