Sufficiency of IndictmentGenerally
Mere evidential matters or detail more appropriate in bills of particular need not be pleaded in an indictment based upon 1341. [citations omitted] But as these cases demonstrate, some substantial indication of the nature or character of any scheme or artifice to defraud, or to obtain money or property by means of false pretenses, representations or promises is requisite. And it is not sufficient in this regard to merely plead the statutory language. [citations omitted] A reference to the cases cited first above will disclose that in each instance the nature of the schemes or artifices is identified or described, including the particular pretenses, representations or promises claimed to have been false.
506 F.2d at 989-90 (holding that the indictment, which pleaded little more than the statutory language without any fair indication of the nature or character of the scheme or artifice relied upon, or the false pretenses, misrepresentations or promises forming a part of it, was fatally defective); see also United States v. Crummer, 151 F.2d 958 (10th Cir. 1945) ("While the particulars of the scheme are matters of substance and therefore must be described with a degree of certainty sufficient to show its existence of character, and fairly to acquaint the defendant with the particular fraudulent scheme charged against him, still the scheme itself need not be pleaded with all the certainty in respect of time, place, and circumstance requisite in charging the mailing of the letter or other matter.") (allegations of the scheme held to be sufficient), cert. denied, 327 U.S. 785 (1946); cf. United States v. Azad, 809 F.2d 291, 295 (6th Cir. 1986) ("What distinguishes this indictment from the indictment found defective in [Curtis], . . . is the clear and specific description of the fraudulent scheme found in the present indictment. The indictment before us does provide some 'substantial indication of the nature or character' of the scheme involved, and 'the scheme itself need not be pleaded with all the certainty in respect of time, place, and circumstance requisite in charging the mailing of the letter or other matter.'" ) (quoting Curtis, 506 F.2d at 990), cert. denied, 481 U.S. 1004 (1987); United States v. Adamo, 534 F.2d 31, 35 (3d Cir.) ("The Curtis indictment was so vague that trial might have proceeded upon an entirely different concept of the scheme than that contemplated by the grand jury when it returned the indictment. By contrast, the indictment in this case explicitly outlines the elements of the fraudulent plan."), cert. denied, 429 U.S. 841 (1976).
[cited in USAM 9-43.100]
Updated February 19, 2015