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965. Conspiracy to Violate the Mail Fraud or Wire Fraud Statutes

Where a scheme and artifice to defraud is shared by two or more, it becomes a conspiracy to defraud. The essential elements of conspiracy to commit mail fraud or wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, are (1) an agreement between two or more persons; (2) to commit mail fraud or wire fraud; and (3) an overt act committed by one of the conspirators in furtherance of the conspiracy. See United States v. Brumley, 79 F.3d 1430, 1442 (5th Cir. 1996) (citing United States v. Hatch, 926 F.2d 387, 393 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 500 U.S. 943 (1991)); United States v. Massey, 827 F.2d 995, 1001 (5th Cir. 1987); United States v. Gordon, 780 F.2d 1165, 1170 (5th Cir. 1986)). "Conspiracy to commit a particular substantive offense cannot exist without at least the degree of criminal intent necessary for the substantive offense." Massey, 827 F.2d at 1001 (quoting Ingram v. United States, 360 U.S. 672, 678 (1959)).

As in any conspiracy, it is sufficient that the defendant knowingly joined the conspiracy in which wire fraud or mail fraud was a foreseeable act in furtherance of the conspiracy. United States v. Leahy, 82 F.3d 624 (5th Cir. 1996) (citing United States v. Basey, 816 F.2d 980, 997 (5th Cir. 1987) (holding that once a defendant's knowing participation in a conspiracy has been established, "the defendant is deemed guilty of substantive acts committed in furtherance of the conspiracy by any of his criminal partners")).

[cited in JM 9-43.100]

Updated January 21, 2020