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CRM 500-999

948. Intent to Defraud

The government must prove that the defendant had the specific intent to defraud. See United States v. Diggs, 613 F.2d 988, 997 (D.C. Cir. 1979) ("Because only 'a scheme to defraud' and not actual fraud is required, proof of fraudulent intent is critical."), cert. denied, 446 U.S. 982 (1980); see also United States v. Costanzo, 4 F.3d 658, 664 (8th Cir. 1993) (intent is an essential element, inquiry is whether defendants intended to defraud); United States v. Porcelli, 865 F.2d 1352, 1358 (2d Cir.) (specific intent requires intent to defraud, not intent to violate the statute), cert. denied, 493 U.S. 810 (1989); cf. United States v. Reid, 533 F.2d 1255, 1264 n. 34 (D.C. Cir. 1976) ("Proof that someone was actually defrauded is unnecessary simply because the critical element in a 'scheme to defraud' is 'fraudulent intent,' Durland v. United States, 161 U.S. 306 . . . (1896), and therefore the accused need not have succeeded in his scheme to be guilty of the crime."); United States v. Bailey, 859 F.2d 1265, 1273 (7th Cir. 1988) (court held that there must be sufficient evidence that the defendant acted with intent to defraud, that is, "willful participation in [the] scheme with knowledge of its fraudulent nature and with intent that these illicit objectives be achieved." (quoting United States v. Price, 623 F.2d 587, 591 (9th Cir. 1980), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 1016 (1980), overruled on other grounds by, United States v. DeBright, 730 F.2d 1255 (9th Cir. 1984)), cert denied, 488 U.S. 1010 (1989).

[cited in JM 9-43.100]