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United States v. McCue

March 20, 1962


Author: Hays

Before LUMBARD, Chief Judge, and MOORE and HAYS, Circuit Judges.

HAYS, Circuit Judge.

Defendants appeal from judgments of conviction entered, after separate trials, upon jury verdicts finding them guilty under 18 U.S.C. ยง 1001*fn1 of making false statements to Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service. McCue, Jr., who was convicted on two counts, was fined $5000 and sentenced to one year in prison on each count, the terms to run concurrently and to be suspended after service of four months, after which he is placed on probation for one year. McCue, Sr., who was convicted on one count, was fined $5000 and sentenced to one year in prison, with the same provision for suspension after four months and for a year's probation. We affirm the judgments.

The McCues, father and son, were respectively President and Vice-President of the Stamford Rolling Mills Company, a corporation operating a plant for the rolling of strip copper and brass at Springdale, a suburb of Stamford, Connecticut. All of the stock of the corporation was owned by the McCue family and family trusts, McCue, Sr. owning between seventy and eighty percent of the common stock.

Sometime prior to 1952 the Internal Revenue Service undertook an investigation of the tax returns of the McCues and of the Company which eventually covered the years 1946 to 1952. From 1952 onward this investigation was in the immediate charge of Special Agent Richard Baker.

1. McCue, Sr.

On August 13, 1954, McCue, Sr., having volunteered to do so, appeared before the Treasury agents who were conducting the investigation, and testified under oath. In the course of the examination McCue, Sr. was questioned with regard to a water well which was drilled on property owned by him and occupied as a home, and which was paid for by the Company. He testified that negotiations for the work on the well were carried on by one Jack McCue, his brother, who had acted on his own initiative and without orders from McCue, Sr. When McCue, Sr. was asked: "You didn't have a thing to do with it?", he replied, "Not a thing."

The one count of the indictment on which McCue, Sr. was convicted was based upon the falsity of this answer. There was ample evidence of falsity. This evidence established that McCue, Sr. had in fact on several occasions discussed his need for more water with Downey, the purchasing agent of the Company, and sometime late in 1950 or early in 1951, in his own office and in the presence of McCue, Jr., had instructed Downey to have wells drilled on his property and on the property occupied as a home by McCue, Jr. Downey engaged the services of a company in the business of drilling wells and the two wells were drilled. Downey discussed with McCue, Sr. certain difficulties which were encountered in the course of drilling the wells. The well on the property of McCue, Sr. was about three hundred feet from his house and the derrick used in drilling it was about forty or fifty feet high. The drilling equipment makes a noise like a pile driver.

The bills for drilling the wells were paid by the Company and charged to "Repair Expenses," which were taken as a deduction in the corporate income tax return.

Jack McCue had nothing whatever to do with the well drilling or the negotiations, and the men in charge of the drilling had never even heard of him.

2. McCue, Jr.

On August 31, 1954, McCue, Jr. appeared voluntarily before the Treasury agents and was examined under oath by Special Agent Baker. He was questioned about certain travel vouchers, i. e. vouchers for reimbursement by the Company of the expenses of trips made on company business. Special Agent Baker asked him specifically: "Were you at all times at the places shown on the dates shown on these memos?" McCue, Jr. replied: "Yes. To the best of my knowledge we were; yes."

The falsity of this answer was the basis for the first of the two counts on which McCue, Jr. was convicted. The evidence amply establishes its falsity. The Government was able to show from corporate records, including the gatemen's books, cafeteria slips and telephone toll slips and from the records of the McCues' country club that they were in fact at the plant or nearby on the dates on which, according to the travel vouchers, they purported to be in other cities.

In the course of the same examination of August 31, 1954, McCue, Jr., was also asked about the wells drilled at Company expense on his and his father's ...

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