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Supreme Court hears arguments in bank fraud case

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments [transcript, PDF] on Tuesday in Loughrin v. United States [SCOTUSblog backgrounder], which raises the issue of whether prosecution under the federal government's anti-bank fraud statute [text] requires proof that the defendant intended to defraud the financial institution and expose it to risk of loss. Counsel for petitioner argued that the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit's "broad interpretation of the Federal bank fraud statute threatens to sweep in a garden variety State law crime." Alternatively, counsel for respondent argued that the statute was drafted with two distinct clauses, one that requires specific intent to defraud a bank and one that does not. Counsel for respondent also stated that the statute was written to create a broad prohibition against a variety of schemes aimed at getting money or property from banks.

The Supreme Court granted [JURIST report] Loughrin's petition for certiorari [text, PDF] in December. There is currently a split among federal appeals courts on the intent-to-defraud question, with the Tenth Circuit affirming [opinion] the lower court's decision, holding that the anti-bank fraud statute "does not require proof that the defendant intended to defraud a bank."

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