Kreuter v. United States, 15000.

Decision Date24 February 1955
Docket NumberNo. 15000.,15000.
Citation218 F.2d 532
PartiesGottfried William KREUTER, Appellant, v. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit

Joseph A. Calamia, El Paso, Tex., for appellant.

Holvey Williams, Asst. U. S. Atty., El Paso, Tex., Charles F. Herring, U. S. Atty., Austin, Tex., for appellee.

Before HOLMES and TUTTLE, Circuit Judges, and ALLRED, District Judge.

ALLRED, District Judge.

Appeal from conviction for mail fraud, 18 U.S.C.A. § 1341. Trial was before the Court, the sentence being five years on each count, concurrent. We approve generally the able trial judge's opinion, 119 F.Supp. 227. On this appeal, appellant's attorney attacks each conclusion of law by the trial court; and appellant personally has filed a handwritten brief. We will state these contentions as we discuss them.

The indictment, we believe, described the offense sufficiently to put appellant on notice and enable him to plead former jeopardy, which is the uniform test. While it did not, as in United States v. Kuiken1 describe a particular bank upon which worthless checks would be given, it alleged, and the evidence shows, a well-laid and continuing scheme to create a spurious appearance of credit by establishing accounts in various banks, depositing worthless checks drawn upon distant banks, and securing local credit so as to draw checks thereon, during a specific period of time.2 It alleged, as intended victims, all who would cash appellant's worthless checks. Except for a description of the scheme, it follows generally form 3 of the Appendix of Forms for the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, 18 U.S.C.A. The elements of the offense covered by the mail fraud statute are: (1) intention to defraud; and (2) execution of the intention by use of the mails.3 These elements were clearly charged; and we do not believe the court abused his discretion in refusing to grant the motion for a bill of particulars.

Counts 1 and 4, after charging the scheme, alleged that for the purpose of executing the scheme, appellant "caused to be placed in an authorized depository for mail matter a letter * * * addressed to" a described bank, "to be sent and delivered by the Post Office Establishment of the United States." Counts 2, 3, 5, and 6, charged him with causing "to be delivered by mail, according to the direction thereon, a letter addressed to" a described recipient. These allegations were in the words of the statute which is sufficient unless the statute omits an essential element.4 Appellant contends that since the evidence shows that, in addition to the deposit in the El Paso National Bank, he deposited worthless checks with banks in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Dallas, Texas, this demonstrates that the indictment was insufficient to put him on notice as to what the Government expected to prove; further, that the Western District of Texas, where he was tried, had no jurisdiction, hence he could not plead jeopardy in Albuquerque or Dallas. This overlooks the fact that the gravamen of the offense is the use of the mails. Therefore, he could be tried where he caused a letter to be either mailed or delivered in furtherance of the scheme. The place where the scheme is conceived or put in motion is immaterial, it is the place of mailing or delivery by mail. The letters involved here were mailed or received at the place of prosecution.

Appellant next contends that the evidence is insufficient to show mailing, use of the mails or receipt through the mails. Without reviewing the evidence we think it was sufficient in this respect. There was specific testimony that the letters were sent by, or received through, the United States mail. Appellant says that this testimony was "assumption and conclusions by witnesses;" but the record does not show that. There is no merit in the contention that the bank records and those of Sears and Montgomery Ward were hearsay. They were admissible under 28 U.S.C.A. § 1732.5

In his own brief, appellant argues that there was no "tie-in" for mail fraud since the checks he deposited in the banks were for collection only; that no one was defrauded through the use of the mails (by the banks sending his checks through for collection); that all the...

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33 cases
  • U.S. v. Wood
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Sixth Circuit
    • April 19, 2004
    ...the place of the mailings. Two of these cases rejected the government's expansive view of mail fraud venue. See Kreuter v. United States, 218 F.2d 532, 534 (5th Cir.1955) ("[T]he gravamen of the offense is the use of the mails. Therefore, [defendant] could be tried where he caused a letter ......
  • U.S. v. Mikell
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Michigan
    • September 24, 2001
    ...Cir.1970) ("The gravamen of mail fraud is the misuse of a federal instrumentality in the execution of a fraud."); Kreuter v. United States, 218 F.2d 532, 534 (5th Cir.1955) ("[T]he gravamen of the offense is the use of the mails"); United States v. Hoffa, 205 F.Supp. 710, 716 (S.D.Fla.1962)......
  • U.S. v. Gordon, 85-4069
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit
    • January 16, 1986
    ...L.Ed.2d 333 (1985). Similarly, an indictment which tracks the statutory language is sufficient to charge mail fraud, Kreuter v. United States, 218 F.2d 532 (5th Cir.1955), cert. denied, 349 U.S. 932, 75 S.Ct. 777, 99 L.Ed. 1262 (1955), or wire fraud, United States v. Abrahams, 466 F.Supp. 5......
  • United States v. Epstein
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Pennsylvania
    • June 13, 1957
    ...of this crime (see Henderson v. United States, 6 Cir., 1953, 202 F.2d 400, rehearing denied, 6 Cir., 204 F.2d 126; Kreuter v. United States, 5 Cir., 1955, 218 F.2d 532, certiorari denied 349 U.S. 932, 75 S.Ct. 777, 99 L.Ed. 1262), this testimony seems irrelevant, but it does show that infla......
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4 books & journal articles
  • Mail and wire fraud.
    • United States
    • American Criminal Law Review Vol. 42 No. 2, March 2005
    • March 22, 2005
    ...may elect to bring the prosecution in the district where the letter was mailed or where it was delivered."); Kreuter v. United States, 218 F.2d 532, 534 (5th Cir. 1955) ("The place where the scheme is conceived or put in motion is immaterial, it is the place of mailing or delivery by mail."......
  • Mail and wire fraud.
    • United States
    • American Criminal Law Review Vol. 43 No. 2, March 2006
    • March 22, 2006
    ...may elect to bring the prosecution in the district where the letter was mailed or where it was delivered."); Kreuter v. United States, 218 F.2d 532, 534 (5th Cir. 1955) ("The place where the scheme is conceived or put in motion is immaterial, it is the place of mailing or delivery by mail."......
  • Mail and wire fraud.
    • United States
    • American Criminal Law Review Vol. 44 No. 2, March 2007
    • March 22, 2007
    ...may elect to bring the prosecution in the district where the letter was mailed or where it was delivered."); Kreuter v. United States, 218 F.2d 532, 534 (5th Cir. 1955) ("The place where the scheme is conceived or put in motion is immaterial, it is the place of mailing or delivery by mail."......
  • Mail and wired fraud.
    • United States
    • American Criminal Law Review Vol. 45 No. 2, March 2008
    • March 22, 2008
    ...may elect to bring the prosecution in the district where the letter was mailed or where it was delivered."); Kreuter v. United States, 218 F.2d 532, 534 (5th Cir. 1955) ("The place where the scheme is conceived or put in motion is immaterial, it is the place of mailing or delivery by mail."......

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