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926. Government Instrumentality

The fraud of wrongful use of a government instrumentality is characterized by the lack of threatened or real pecuniary or proprietary loss, or obstruction of governmental activity. An example of such a scheme might be the use of false United States Internal Revenue Service receipts to defraud private persons of money. Furthermore, the United States has the right to ensure that funds be administered in accordance with law and honesty without corrupt influence or bribery.

Thus, a scheme to defraud the United States can range from directly cheating or swindling money or property from the government to simply using the government in a wrongful fashion with the only injury being to the pride and integrity of the government. The case law demonstrates, moreover, that any injury to the integrity of the government is sufficient.

[cited in JM 9-42.001]

Updated January 21, 2020