Supreme Court rules no proof of intent required for federal bank fraud conviction

Supreme Court rules no proof of intent required for federal bank fraud conviction

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Monday in Loughrin v. United States [SCOTUSblog backgrounder] that prosecution under the federal government’s anti-bank fraud statute [text] does not require proof that a defendant intended to defraud a financial institution. Kevin Loughrin used stolen checks to steal just over $1,000 from a local Target store, but there was no evidence that he intended to defraud a bank. Nonetheless, Loughrin was charged and convicted under the federal anti-bank fraud statute. The US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit upheld his conviction [opinion], and, in an opinion by Justice Elena Kagan, the Supreme Court affirmed.

The court heard arguments in the case in April after granting certiorari [JURIST reports] in December. JURIST Guest Columnists Daniel Levin and Victoria Degtyareva of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP recently argued [JURIST op-ed] that, “[i]n the absence of a clear Congressional statement and in light of the dangers of bringing minor local crimes within the scope of federal criminal jurisdiction, the court should reject the government’s broad interpretation of the federal bank fraud statute and use this case as an opportunity to limit the over-federalization of criminal law.”