The U.S. Supreme Court took up once again the issue of the mental element of crime, known in legal Latin as mens rea. Shaw v. United States, No. 15-5991, is a case from the Ninth Circuit. The summary of the Ninth's opinion is:
The panel affirmed a conviction for a scheme to defraud a financial institution, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344(1), in a case in which the defendant used PayPal to convince banks that he was a particular bank customer and thus had authority to transfer money out of that customer's bank accounts and into a PayPal account in the defendant's control.The Question Presented, as phrased by counsel for Shaw, is:
The panel held that for a violation of § 1344(1), the government need not prove that the defendant intended the bank to be the principal financial victim of the fraud, and that the district court therefore correctly refused jury instructions that included such a requirement.
Whether subsection (1)'s "scheme to defraud a financial institution" requires proof of a specific intent not only to deceive, but also to cheat, a bank, as nine circuits have held, and as petitioner Lawrence Shaw argued here.The sentencing appeal case is Manrique v. United States, No. 15-7250. The unpublished opinion of the Eleventh Circuit begins: