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The false statement need not be made directly to the federal agency to be within its jurisdiction under 18 U.S.C.S. § 1001. In addition, federal agency jurisdiction is not affected by a defendant's awareness of that jurisdiction, or by his or her awareness that the false information would be submitted to or influence the action of a federal agency.
Defendant, Gerald Wright, filed false turbidity reports with the state regarding the water at the water treatment plant that he managed. Defendant was convicted of making a false written report on a matter within the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in violation of 18 U.S.C.S. § 1001. Defendant appealed, arguing that because primary enforcement over drinking water standards was granted to the state under the Safe Water Drinking Act (SWDA), 42 U.S.C.S. § 300f-k, specifically under 42 U.S.C.S. § 300g-2, the reports were not within the jurisdiction of the EPA, and thus, the district court lacked jurisdiction.
Were the false turbidity reports within the jurisdiction of the EPA?
The court held that under 18 U.S.C.S. § 1001, the false statement did not have to be made directly to the EPA and that EPA jurisdiction was not affected by defendant's awareness of it. The turbidity data defendant filed fell within the EPA's jurisdiction; though the EPA had granted primary authority to the state over SWDA matters, exclusive authority remained in the EPA. The EPA retained authority to enforce SWDA regulations and was actively involved in assuring state compliance with SWDA standards by regularly auditing and evaluating the state's program. Further, federal funding for the state program was conditioned on the EPA's evaluations. As the EPA clearly had jurisdiction over the false reports filed by defendant, the district court had jurisdiction.