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A violation of 18 U.S.C.S. § 1001 for the making of a false statement or representation requires: (1) the making of a statement; (2) the falsity of such statement; (3) knowledge of the falsity of such statement; (4) relevance of such statement to the functioning of a federal department or agency; and (5) that the false statement was material.
Defendant, who received disability benefits, had indicated in his application that he was not self-employed. He was later investigated and found to have worked for a corporation, which he owned. He was charged under § 1001 with knowingly and willfully making a false material statement and representation in the claims he submitted for continuing compensation on account of disability by falsely indicating that he was not self-employed and concealing his self-employment and ownership a corporation. The jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to a concurrent term of 10 months on each count and ordered to make restitution. Defendant contended that the trial court erred in denying his motion for judgment of acquittal because as an employee of his corporation, he could not be self-employed under Georgia law.
Under the circumstances, could the defendant’s conviction under § 1001 be sustained?
The court reversed defendant's conviction for making a false and material statement and representation on claims he submitted for continuing disability compensation. The court noted that a violation of 18 U.S.C.S. § 1001 for concealment required a knowing and willful concealment by any trick, scheme, or device of a material fact. In this case, the court held that there was no evidence from which the jury could find beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant knowingly misrepresented that he was self-employed during the period in which he was receiving disability compensation.