National Stolen Property Act"Value" Defined
"Value" is defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2311 to mean "face, par, or
market value, whichever is the greatest, and the aggregate value of all
wares, and merchandise, securities, and money referred to in a single
shall constitute the value thereof."|
For purposes of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2314 and 2315 the value of the
stolen property which must be proven is at least $5,000, except for pledging
under 18 U.S.C. § 2315 where the amount is only $500. The value of the
stolen property is a jury question, see United States v.
657 F.2d 199 (8th Cir. 1981), and must be proven in terms of United States
dollars. See United States v. Dior, 671 F.2d 351 (9th Cir.
The value of the different types of property may be proven in
ways. Market value is the means by which the value of most goods, wares,
merchandise will be established. This can be demonstrated by many methods.
value that the thief asks for the stolen goods and the value he actually
them for can prove the value. See United States v. Wigerman,
F.2d 1192 (8th Cir. 1977). Of course, the basic rule of what a willing
and a willing buyer will pay can also be used. Often times the thieves'
value can be used to show the value. See United States v.
576 F.2d 749 (8th Cir. 1978); United States v. Moore, 571 F.2d 154
In addition to market value, the value of securities can be proven
through the security's face value, see United States, v.
545 F.2d 1237 (9th Cir. 1976), or its par value, United States v.
552 F.2d 1184 (7th Cir. 1977). Basically, the courts agree that any
method of determining value is permissible. See United States v.
Tauro, 362 F. Supp. 688 (W.D.Pa.), aff'd, 493 F.2d 1402 (3d Cir.
1973). If the goods were stolen from a retail merchant, the value is its
value; while if stolen from a wholesale merchant the value is its wholesale
value. See United States v. Robinson, 687 F.2d 359 (11th Cir.
1982). The value may be determined at the time of theft or its
for prosecutions under 18 U.S.C. § 2314, United States v.
F.2d 712 (7th Cir. 1977), and at time of theft or at anytime during its
possession, concealment, or disposition under 18 U.S.C. § 2315.
United States v. Luckey, 655 F.2d 203 (9th Cir. 1981); United
v. Reid, 586 F.2d 393 (5th Cir. 1978); United States v. McClain,
F.2d 988 (5th Cir. 1977).
Although the definition of value appears to permit the aggregation
the total amount in an indictment, it has been held that what is meant is
each count must allege the $5,000 threshold amount. See United
v. Markus, 721 F.2d 442 (3d Cir. 1983). Transactions involving less
$5,000 can be aggregated and combined into a single count if there is
relationship between the transactions or they are part of a single plan or
conspiracy. See Schaffer v. United States, 362 U.S. 511
United States v. Honey, 680 F.2d 1228 (8th Cir. 1982); United
v. Perry, 638 F.2d 862 (5th Cir. 1981). At times a thief or possessor
stolen property may do something to it to increase its value. The statutory
amount requirement may be satisfied by the enhanced value provided such
does not alter or change the nature of the property but merely fulfills it.
See United States v. Jones, 432 F. Supp. 801 (E.D.Pa. 1977),
aff'd sub nom., United States v. Moore, 571 F.2d 154, (stolen
ticketron tickets were subsequently imprinted with dates of performances and
[cited in Criminal Resource Manual 1303; USAM 9-61.200]