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United States v. Stevens - 909 F.2d 431 (11th Cir. 1990)

Rule:

A sole stockholder who completely controls a corporation and is the sole actor in performance of corporate activities, cannot be guilty of a criminal conspiracy with that corporation in the absence of another human actor.

Facts:

Defendant was convicted of presenting false claims to a federal agency under 18 U.S.C.S. § 287, making false statements to a federal agency under 18 U.S.C.S. § 1001, and defrauding federally insured banks under 18 U.S.C.S. §§ 10141344, in connection with a contract he had with the Navy to build an automated storage and retrieval system. He received payments from the government for work that was never done, and obtained loans from banks by listing as security income derived from the government contract. He was also convicted of conspiring with his corporation, of which he was the sole owner, to commit the criminal acts. He appealed his convictions.

Issue:

Did the trial court err when it instructed the jury about conspiracy?

Answer:

Yes

Conclusion:

The court ruled that the trial court erred when it instructed the jury about conspiracy because although a corporation can be a member of a conspiracy such conspiracy requires at least two human members. The court ruled that the trial court properly instructed the jury on "specific intent," and on the term "false and material." The court ruled that the trial court's restitution order was sufficient to permit appellate review as to the basis for the restitution amount.

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