Sunday, September 16, 2012

Bell v. United States case brief

Bell v U.S.
S. Ct. U.S.  1983
FACTS:  Petitioner opened an account at a savings and loan institution using his own name, but giving a false address, birth date, and social security number.
-Later that day, at another branch, he deposited into his account a third party's $10,000 check on which the endorsement had been altered to show petitioner's account number.
-Subsequently petitioner closed his account and was paid the total balance in cash.

ISSUE: Whether the D's act was limited to common law larceny or includes the crime of obtaining money under false pretenses?

: The Bank Robbery Act was not limited to common-law larceny, but also proscribed the crime of obtaining money under false pretenses.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY:  Defendant was convicted in the U S D Ct Fl jury trial of violating the Bank Robbery Act. The Ct of App reversed, but that Court sitting en banc, ultimately affirmed the conviction. Certiorari was granted. The S Ct  Affirmed.
RULES: Whoever takes and carries away, with intent to steal or purloin, any property or money or any other thing of value exceeding $100 belonging to, or in the care, custody, control, management, or possession of any bank, credit union, or any savings and loan association.

ANALYSIS:  The statutory language does not suggest that it covers only common-law larceny. The language "takes and carries away" is traditional common-law language, but represents only one element of common-law larceny. It is entirely consistent with false pretenses, although not a necessary element of that crime. other language of § 2113(b) shows an intention to go beyond common-law larceny. Section 2113(b) does not apply to a case of false pretenses in which there is not a taking and carrying away, but it proscribes petitioner's conduct here. The legislative history of § 2113(b) also suggests that Congress intended the statute to reach petitioner's conduct. The congressional purpose was to protect banks from those who wished to steal banks' assets--even if they used no force in doing so.

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