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UNITED STATES v. BRAMBLETT

decided: April 4, 1955.

UNITED STATES
v.
BRAMBLETT



APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

Black, Reed, Frankfurter, Douglas, Clark, Minton; Warren, Burton and Harlan took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Reed

[ 348 U.S. Page 503]

 MR. JUSTICE REED delivered the opinion of the Court.

On November 10, 1953, an 18-count indictment was returned in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, charging the appellee, a former member

[ 348 U.S. Page 504]

     of Congress, with violations of 18 U. S. C. § 1001.*fn1 During the course of the trial a judgment of acquittal was ordered on counts 8 through 18 of the indictment. The jury returned a verdict of guilty on the remaining 7 counts which charged the appellee with having falsely and fraudulently represented to the Disbursing Office of the House of Representatives that a named woman was entitled to compensation as his official clerk. The District Court granted appellee's motion in arrest of judgment, holding that he had not falsified a material fact "within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States" since the Disbursing Office was not a department or agency within the meaning of the statute. The District Court was of the opinion that the statute does not afford protection to the legislative and judicial branches of the Government. The Government brought this case here on direct appeal pursuant to 18 U. S. C. § 3731. Reference to the evolution of § 1001 will assist in determining the correctness of the decision below. A detailed analysis appears in the opinion of the trial court. 120 F.Supp. 857.

Section 1001 had its origin in a statute passed almost 100 years ago in the wake of a spate of frauds upon the Government. The Act of March 2, 1863, 12 Stat. 696, "An Act to prevent and punish Frauds upon the Government of the United States," made it a criminal offense for

"any person in the land or naval forces of the United States . . . [to] make or cause to be made, or present

[ 348 U.S. Page 505]

     or cause to be presented for payment or approval to or by any person or officer in the civil or military service of the United States, any claim upon or against the Government of the United States, or any department or officer thereof, knowing such claim to be false, fictitious, or fraudulent . . . ."

This provision clearly covers the presentation of false claims against any component of the Government to any officer of the Government. The prohibition of the statute is broad, although its application was limited to military personnel.

False statements were proscribed in the following clause of the same section in these terms:

"any person in such forces or service who shall, for the purpose of obtaining, or aiding in obtaining, the approval or payment of such claim, make, use, or cause to be made or used, any false bill, receipt, voucher, entry, roll, account, claim, statement, certificate, affidavit, or ...


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