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False Statements and False Claims

NCJ Number
American Criminal Law Review Volume: 48 Issue: 2 Dated: Spring 2011 Pages: 629-662
Thea Cohen; Katie Kronick
Date Published
34 pages
This article reviews the provisions of and defenses against sections 1001 and 287 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, which make it a crime to knowingly and willfully make a false statement to or a false claim upon or against the United States or to any department or agency thereof.
In addition, sections 3729-3733 of Title 31 of the U.S. Code provide for the civil prosecution of false claims. The three statutes contain similar elements, which allow prosecutors to choose the statute under which they will prosecute a particular case of fraud; however, because the statutes' language indicates that Congress intended to create two distinct violations, prosecuting a defendant under both section 287 and section 1001 does not violate the double jeopardy clause of the fifth amendment. The second section of this article discusses criminal prosecutions brought under section 1001, the False Statement Act. Elements of this offense address all statements, whether oral or written, sworn or unsworn, voluntary, or required by law. Examples of the types of false statements covered under this statute are cited. Section 1001 can also extend to affirmative acts of concealment even where no actual statement has been made. Issues of falsity, materiality, intent, and jurisdiction are also discussed. Defenses to section 1001 charges are also explained, along with sentencing. Another section of the article focuses of elements of a section 287 offense, which pertain to false claims. Provisions of this section of the U.S. Code pertain to the presentation of a claim; false, fictitious, or fraudulent claims; and knowledge. Defenses against charges brought under section 287 are outlined, as are enforcement provisions and sentencing. A discussion of civil prosecution under sections 3729-3733 of Title 31 concludes the article. 244 notes


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