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United States v. Adler

decided: July 27, 1967.


Lumbard, Chief Judge, Moore, Circuit Judge, and Bonsal, District Judge.*fn*

Author: Bonsal

BONSAL, District Judge:

Appellant, M. Raymond Adler, having waived a jury, was convicted in the Southern District of New York on a onecount indictment charging a violation of Title 18, § 1001 of the United States Code, which provides:

§ 1001. Statements or entries generally

Whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States knowingly and willfully falsifies, conceals or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact, or makes any false, fictitious or fraudulent statements or representations, or makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or entry, shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

The indictment charges that " On or about the 26th day of July, 1963, * * *" the appellant "in a matter within the jurisdiction of a department and agency of the United States, to wit, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Department of Justice (F.B.I.), unlawfully, wilfully and knowingly did make false, fictitious and fraudulent statements and representations, namely, that while he was engaged in the performance of a construction contract for the United States, public officials corruptly exacted money and other things of value from him in return for being influenced in their performance of official acts in connection with the said contract, whereas in truth and in fact, as the defendant then and there well knew, no money or other thing of value had been so exacted by any public official."

In July of 1963 the appellant was president of a construction company having as its only Government contract a $3,165,000 contract awarded by the United States Navy in September of 1962 for the construction of houses at the submarine base in Groton and at the underwater sound laboratory in New London, Connecticut.

On July 26, 1963, appellant, on his own initiative, went to the New York office of the F.B.I. where Special Agent Weinberg was assigned to speak to him. Appellant told Agent Weinberg that a "friend" of his had been required to pay bribes to Government officials in the course of completing a construction contract at a Government installation and that he hoped that the F.B.I. "would do nothing more than reprimand the Government officials involved so that this bribery would stop." At this point, Agent Weinberg asked appellant if he was not really talking about himself, and appellant said that he was. Agent Weinberg promptly advised appellant of his constitutional rights, viz., that he need say nothing further, that anything he did say could be used against him, and that he had a right to consult an attorney. Appellant said that he did not wish to make any further statement at the time and that if anyone else asked him about the bribery he would deny it. He indicated that he would be in his New York office the following Monday morning. The following Monday Agent Weinberg went to appellant's office and again advised him of his constitutional rights. Appellant told him at that time that because the contract was in an early stage it would be unfair to him and his company to say anything further about the bribery, that it could not be proved without his cooperation, and that if any other agents or a grand jury questioned him he would deny it.

The F.B.I. initiated an investigation to determine whether any Government employee engaged in the administration of appellant's Navy contract had in fact solicited or received any bribes. As a part of the investigation, appellant was called before a grand jury, but on the advice of his attorney, refused to answer any questions.

On February 25, 1965, while the investigation was still in progress, Special Agents Stonko and Hendry of the F.B.I. visited appellant's Connecticut office, by appointment, to examine the corporate books and records for evidence of the payment of bribes. Appellant was at the office and the agents identified themselves to him and told him the purpose of their visit. Appellant produced certain corporate records, and before the agents began to examine them, appellant "started talking about his contract with the Navy, his problems that he was having." Agent Stonko interrupted appellant and advised him of his constitutional rights. Appellant went on to say that the bribery accusation he had made in 1963 was false, that he had made the accusation to "get even" with the Government personnel handling his contract because they had been giving him a "rough time," and that he had hoped that an investigation by the F.B.I. might keep the officials "off his back."

At the trial, 80 to 90% of the Government employees involved in the administration of appellant's contract testified that they had never solicited a bribe from appellant, that he had never offered them a bribe, and that appellant had never complained to them that any Government official had solicited a bribe from him. Appellant did not testify. At the conclusion of the trial, appellant having waived a jury, Judge McLean found the appellant guilty. In a statement for the record, Judge McLean discussed the elements of the crime charged and found that the Government had proven beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) that on July 26, 1963 the appellant made the statement to the F.B.I. charged in the indictment; (2) that the statement was false and that appellant knew it was false; (3) that the statement was made knowingly and wilfully. Judge McLean also found, (4) that since the appellant took the initiative and went to the F.B.I. and made a knowingly false statement to them, the statement was made in a matter within the jurisdiction of the F.B.I. as "jurisdiction" is used in § 1001.

We believe that Judge McLean properly defined the elements of the crime. See, United States v. McCue, 301 F.2d 452 (2d Cir. 1962), cert. denied, 370 U.S. 939, 82 S. Ct. 1586, 8 L. Ed. 2d 808 (1962). The evidence with respect to the first three elements viewed in the light most favorable to the Government, United States v. Aadal, 368 F.2d 962 (2d Cir. 1966), cert. denied, 386 U.S. 970, 87 S. Ct. 1161, 18 L. Ed. 2d 130 (1967); United States v. Castellana, 349 F.2d 264 (2d Cir. 1965), cert. denied, 383 U.S. 928, 86 S. Ct. 935, 15 L. Ed. 2d 847 (1966); United States v. Brown, 236 F.2d 403 (2d Cir. 1956), overwhelmingly supports Judge McLean's findings. We also agree that the statement made by the appellant to the F.B.I. was made in a matter within the jurisdiction of the F.B.I.

Appellant contends (1) that his admission to Agent Stonko of the falsity of his statement to Agent Weinberg was received in violation of his constitutional rights, and (2) that the F.B.I. is not an agency to which § 1001 is applicable and, therefore, the giving of false information to the F.B.I. is not "any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency" of the Government.

As to the first contention, when Agent Stonko went to appellant's Connecticut office in February, 1965, he was aware that appellant had refused, on the advice of counsel, to testify before a grand jury in December, 1963. However, the purpose of Agent Stonko's visit was to examine the corporate books and records, and when appellant voluntarily began to discuss his problems with the Navy contract, Stonko immediately informed him of his constitutional rights. Appellant was not in custody, there was no criminal charge pending against him, and Stonko's presence in his office was not surreptitious. (Compare Massiah v. United States, 377 U.S. 201, 84 S. Ct. 1199, 12 L. Ed. 2d 246 (1964); Miranda v. State of Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S. Ct. 1602, 16 L. Ed. 2d 694 (1966).) Appellant's rights were not violated because prior to visiting appellant's Connecticut office Agent Stonko did not seek permission from counsel who had represented appellant on one occasion over a year before. See, Hoffa v. United States, 385 U.S. 293, 87 S. Ct. 408, 17 L. Ed. 2d 374 (1966); United States v. Fiorillo, 376 ...

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