Elements of 18 U.S.C. § 287
Under 18 U.S.C. § 287, the government must establish that the
- made or presented a false, fictitious, or fraudulent claim to a
department of the United States;
- knew such claim was false, fictitious or fraudulent; and
- did so with the specific intent to violate the law or with a
that what he was doing was wrong.
United States v. Slocum, 708 F.2d 587, 596 (11th Cir.
United States v. Computer Sciences Corp., 511 F. Supp. 1125, 1134
Va. 1981), rev'd on other grounds, 689 F.2d 1181 (4th Cir. 1982)).
Under Section 287, unlike 18 U.S.C. § 1001, there may not be a
requirement that the statements or claims be material; the United States
of Appeals are split on the issue. United States v. Parsons, 967
452, 455 (10th Cir. 1992)(no materiality component); United States v.
Elkin, 731 F.2d 1005, 1009 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 469 U.S. 822
(1984)(same); United States v. Pruitt, 702 F.2d 152, 155 (8th Cir.
(materiality component); United States v. Snider, 502 F.2d 645, 652
(4th Cir. 1974) (same). The conflict was noted in United States v.
27 F.3d 1531, 1535 (11th Cir. 1994), which did not resolve the issue.
Presumably, if a materiality component exists, it is a matter for jury
in light of United States v. Gaudin, 115 S.Ct. 2310 (1995).
Although it is clear from the case law that specific intent to
is not required for a conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 287, the United
Courts of Appeals are divided on the issue of whether willfulness is an
element of the crime. For example, the United Stated Courts of Appeals for
Tenth, Fifth and Second Circuits have held that willfulness is not an
element of Section 287, while the Ninth, Eighth and Fourth Circuits appear
indicate that willfulness is an essential element of Section 287.
Presentation of a claim is more than an intention to make a claim.
claim must be presented actually and physically, and thereby made to the
government. The clearest case is presentation directly to the government;
however, the claim may go through an intermediary. United States v.
Murph, 707 F.2d 895, 896 (6th Cir.) cert. denied, 464 U.S. 844
(court rejected the argument that defendant did not cause a violation of
287 because the claim was submitted by an intermediary; the defendant sold a
return, falsely claiming a refund, to the intermediary and knew that the
would be presented to the government to claim the refund). Presenting or
a refund check constitutes making a false claim on the United States.
United States v. Branker, 395 F.2d 881 (2d Cir. 1968), cert.
denied, 393 U.S. 1029 (1969). Although Section 287 does not define the
"claim" (United States v. Barsanti, 943 F.2d 428, 432-33 (4th Cir.
cert. denied, 503 U.S. 936 (1992)), in United States v. Cohn,
U.S. 339 (1926), the United States Supreme Court wrote:
While the word "claim" may sometimes be used in the broad
juridical sense of "a demand of some matter as of right made by one person
another, to do or to forbear to do some act or thing as a matter of duty,"
clear, in the light of the entire context, that in the present statute, the
provision relating to the payment or approval of a "claim upon or against"
government relates solely to the payment or approval of a claim for money or
property to which a right is asserted against the government, based upon the
government's own liability to the claimant.
270 U.S. at 345-36. The civil component of the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C.
3729(c), also defines the word "claim."
[cited in USAM 9-42.001]