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Criminal Law

Duke Law

Fraud

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Culpability And Modern Crime, Samuel W. Buell Jan 2015

Culpability And Modern Crime, Samuel W. Buell

Faculty Scholarship

Criminal law has developed to prohibit new forms of intrusion on the autonomy and mental processes of others. Examples include modern understandings of fraud, extortion, and bribery, which pivot on the concepts of deception, coercion, and improper influence. Sometimes core offenses develop to include similar concepts, such as when reforms in the law of sexual assault make consent almost exclusively material. Many of these projects are laudable. But progressive programs in substantive criminal law can raise difficult problems of culpability. Modern iterations of criminal offenses often draw lines using concepts involving relative mental states among persons whose conduct is embedded …


The Federal Common Law Crime Of Corruption, Lisa Kern Griffin Jan 2011

The Federal Common Law Crime Of Corruption, Lisa Kern Griffin

Faculty Scholarship

This contribution to the North Carolina Law Review’s 2010 symposium, Adaptation and Resiliency in Legal Systems, considers the compatibility between the common law nature of honest services fraud and the dynamic quality of public integrity offenses. Corruption enforcement became a focal point of recent debates about over- criminalization because it typifies expansive legislative mandates for prosecutors and implicit delegations to courts. Federal prosecutions of political corruption have relied primarily on an open-textured provision: 18 U.S.C. § 1346, the honest services extension of the mail fraud statute. Section 1346 raises notice concerns because it contains few self-limiting terms, but it has …


An Honest Services Debate, Sara Sun Beale Jan 2010

An Honest Services Debate, Sara Sun Beale

Faculty Scholarship

This commentary employs a fictional debate to explore the issues raised by the Supreme Court’s decision in Skilling v. United States, 130 S. Ct. 2896 (2010), which dramatically cut back on “honest services” prosecutions under the mail and wire fraud statutes. In response to an earlier decision by the Supreme Court reading these statutes narrowly, Congress enacted 18 U.S.C. § 1346, which extends mail and wire fraud to schemes to deprive another of “the intangible right of honest services.” In 2009 the Supreme Court granted certiorari in three cases presenting questions concerning the “honest services” provision. One of the cases …


Reforming Punishment Of Financial Reporting Fraud, Samuel W. Buell Jan 2007

Reforming Punishment Of Financial Reporting Fraud, Samuel W. Buell

Faculty Scholarship

Present sentencing law in criminal cases of financial reporting fraud is embarrassingly flawed. The problem is urgent given that courts are now regularly sentencing corporate offenders, sometimes (but sometimes not) to extremely punitive terms of imprisonment. Policing of fraud by multiple jurisdictions in a federal system means that principled sentencing law is necessary not only for first-order policy reasons but also for coordination of sanctioning efforts. Proportionality and rationality demand that sentencing law have an agreed scale for measuring cases of financial reporting fraud in relation to each other, a sound methodology for fixing a given case on that scale, …


Novel Criminal Fraud, Samuel W. Buell Jan 2006

Novel Criminal Fraud, Samuel W. Buell

Faculty Scholarship

The crime of fraud has been underdescribed and undertheorized, both as a wrong and as a legal prohibition. These deficits contribute to contention and uncertainty over the practice of punishing white-collar crime. This Article provides a fuller account of criminal fraud, describing fraud law's open-textured, common-law, and adaptive qualities and explaining how fraud law develops along its leading edge while limiting violence to the legality principle. The legal system has a surprising, often overlooked methodology for resolving whether to treat novel commercial behaviors as frauds: Courts and enforcers often conduct an ex post examination of whether an actor's mental state …