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Supreme Court of the United States
February 28, 1946, Argued ; June 10, 1946, Decided
[*752] [**1241] [***1559] MR. JUSTICE RUTLEDGE [****5] delivered the opinion of the Court.
The only question is whether petitioners have suffered substantial prejudice from being convicted of a single general conspiracy by evidence which the Government admits proved not one conspiracy but some eight or more different ones of the same sort executed through a common key figure, Simon Brown. Petitioners were convicted under the general conspiracy section of the Criminal Code, 18 U. S. C. § 88, of conspiring to violate the provisions of the National Housing Act, 12 U. S. C. §§ 1702, 1703, 1715, 1731. The judgments were affirmed by the Circuit Court of Appeals. 151 F.2d 170. We granted certiorari because of the importance of the question for the administration of criminal justice in the federal courts. 326 U.S. 711.
The indictment named thirty-two defendants, including the petitioners. 2 [***1560] The gist of the conspiracy, as alleged, was that the defendants had sought to induce various financial institutions to grant credit, [**1242] with the intent that the loans or advances would then be offered to the Federal Housing Administration for insurance upon [****6] applications containing false and fraudulent information. 3
[****7] [*753] Of the thirty-two persons named in the indictment nineteen were brought to trial 4 and the names of thirteen were submitted to the jury. 5 Two were acquitted; the jury disagreed as to four; and the remaining seven, including petitioners, were found guilty.
The Government's evidence may be summarized briefly, for the petitioners have not contended that it was insufficient, if considered apart from the alleged errors relating to the proof and the instructions at the trial.
Simon Brown, who pleaded guilty, was the common and key figure in all of the transactions proven. He was president of the Brownie Lumber Company. Having had experience in obtaining loans under the National Housing Act, he undertook [****8] to act as broker in placing for others loans for modernization and renovation, charging a five per cent commission for his services. Brown knew, when he obtained the loans, that the proceeds were not to be used for the purposes stated in the applications.
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328 U.S. 750 *; 66 S. Ct. 1239 **; 90 L. Ed. 1557 ***; 1946 U.S. LEXIS 2184 ****
KOTTEAKOS ET AL. v. UNITED STATES
Prior History: [****1] CERTIORARI TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT. 1
Petitioners were convicted under § 37 of the Criminal Code of conspiracy to violate the National Housing Act. The Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. 151 F.2d 170. This Court granted certiorari. 326 U.S. 711. Reversed, p. 777.
Disposition: 151 F.2d 170, reversed.
conspiracy, indictment, conspirators, guilt, convict, cases, variance, substantial rights, instructions, joined, overt act, transactions, harmless, loans, criminal cause, charging, phase, prejudicial, thirty-two, connected, reversal
Criminal Law & Procedure, Defective Joinder & Severance, Duplicity, General Overview, Standards of Review, Harmless & Invited Error, Theft & Related Offenses, Counterfeiting, Homicide, Manslaughter & Murder, Criminal Abortion, Civil Procedure, Appeals, Appellate Jurisdiction, State Court Review, Postconviction Proceedings, Motions for New Trial