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Criminal Resource Manual

1317. National Stolen Property Act -- "Stolen" -- "Converted" -- "Taken By Fraud"

The phrase "stolen, converted, or taken by fraud" is intended to cover all forms of theft offenses regardless of whether such "taking" was in the nature of common law larceny, an embezzlement, or false pretenses. United States v. Lyda, 279 F.2d 461 (5th Cir. 1960). See also United States v. Turley, 352 U.S. 407 (1957) (under 18 U.S.C. § 2312); and Bell v. United States, 462 U.S. 356 (1983) (under 18 U.S.C. § 2113). The phrase covers the felonious taking or conversion of another's property right in the particular object. Hence, the phrase covers any deprivation of one's title. United States v. Zepin, 533 F.2d 279 (5th Cir. 1976). There must be a deprivation of an existing property right, so the movement of one's own money out of state to avoid general creditors would not constitute such a taking. See United States v. Carman, 577 F.2d 556 (9th Cir. 1978).

Although a forged endorsement may not constitute a violation of the third paragraph of 18 U.S.C. § 2314, a false endorsement of a security having the value of $5,000 or more would make the security "converted or taken by fraud" within the meaning of the first paragraph of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2314 and 2315. See United States v. Tyson, 690 F.2d 9 (1st Cir. 1982). See also this Manual at 1319.

The property must retain its stolen character during the transportation under 18 U.S.C. § 2314 or the receipt, possession, concealment, storing, bartering, selling, disposing of, pledging, or accepting as a security for a loan under 18 U.S.C. § 2315. Full recovery by the owner or his agents, including law enforcement officials, will terminate the stolen character. On the other hand, if the stolen property is not in their sole possession and is only under their "surveillance," the stolen character remains. See United States v. Muzii, 676 F.2d 919 (2d Cir. 1982); United States v. Dove, 629 F.2d 325 (4th Cir. 1980). However, in the Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, Pub. Law 103-322, Congress enacted a provision, now codified at 18 U.S.C § 21, which provides that for purposes of title 18, whenever it is an element of an offense that property was stolen and defendant knew of its stolen character, such element can be established as a result of an "official representation" of its stolen character.

[cited in Criminal Resource Manual 1322; Criminal Resource Manual 1336; Criminal Resource Manual 1377; USAM 9-61.200]