United States v. Taylor

Decision Date29 December 2015
Docket NumberNo. 14–50528.,14–50528.
Parties UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff–Appellee, v. Lloyd Irvin TAYLOR, AKA Larry A. Busenius, AKA David Duane Fisher, AKA Henry W. Henrikson, AKA Larry Henrikson, AKA James R. Holaway, AKA Kenneth H. Miller, AKA Terry A. Price, AKA Larry Taylor, AKA William J. Yount, Defendant–Appellant.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit

Knut S. Johnson (argued), Emerson Wheat, San Diego, CA, for DefendantAppellant.

Caroline D. Ciraolo, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Frank P. Cihlar, Chief, Criminal Appeals & Tax Enforcement Policy Section, Gregory Victor Davis and Gregory S. Knapp (argued), Attorneys, Department of Justice, Tax Division, Washington, D.C.; and Laura E. Duffy, of Counsel, United States Attorney, San Diego, CA, for PlaintiffAppellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, Michael M. Anello, District Judge, Presiding. D.C. No. 3:13–cr–01390–MMA–1.



SCHROEDER, Circuit Judge:

Lloyd Taylor appeals his conviction of seven counts of making false statements to a bank in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1014, and six counts of aggravated identity theft in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028(a). These convictions arose out of a tax evasion scheme in which Taylor used multiple false identities to open bank accounts in order to obtain cashier's checks to buy gold. The bank discovered the scheme and reported it to federal authorities.

The determinative issue he raises in this appeal is whether § 1014 requires a risk of loss or liability for the bank. There was none in this case because Taylor was depositing and withdrawing money from accounts that he had created. The statutory language, however, contains no requirement of a risk of loss to the financial institution. Rather, it requires only that Taylor knowingly made a false statement for the purpose of influencing in any way the action of the bank in connection with covered banking transactions-elements met when Taylor used false documents in connection with opening accounts and obtaining cashier's checks. We therefore join the Fourth Circuit in holding that the statute does not contain any requirement of a risk of loss, and we affirm the convictions.See Elliott v. United States, 332 F.3d 753, 764 (4th Cir.2003).


Taylor's scheme began in the 1980s when he used the identities of children who had died before receiving social security numbers, and who would have been approximately the same age as Taylor. At trial, the government introduced evidence that Taylor obtained Florida driver's licenses, which he subsequently renewed, and voter registration cards, using the stolen identities. According to the evidence presented, Taylor used these false documents to open various bank and brokerage accounts, including checking accounts at Wells Fargo and Wachovia. In 2009, Taylor, using one of his false identities, purchased four cashier's checks from Wells Fargo Bank, in the total amount of $250,000. Around the same time, again using a false identity, he purchased two cashier's checks from Wachovia Bank, in the total amount of $98,050. To obtain the cashier's checks, Taylor provided various forms of false identification to each bank. To pay for these cashier's checks he used funds drawn from checking accounts he had opened at each bank, also using false identities. In addition, Taylor had various other schemes involving falsified passport applications and creation of a nonexistent church, which are not at issue here.

A grand jury indicted Taylor for violating numerous statutes, including making false statements to a federally insured financial institution, 18 U.S.C. § 1014 ; making false statements on U.S. passport applications, 18 U.S.C. § 1542 ; obstruction of the administration of internal revenue laws, 26 U.S.C. § 7212(a) ; tax evasion, 26 U.S.C. § 7201 ; and aggravated identity theft, 18 U.S.C. § 1028(a). A jury convicted Taylor of all counts in June 2014.

On appeal he challenges only the § 1014 false statement convictions and the § 1028(a) convictions, which are derivative of the § 1014 convictions. These convictions effectively resulted in increasing his sentence by two years. Taylor rests his entire appeal on the argument that the government was required to prove under § 1014 that Taylor's conduct created a risk of loss to the banks, which the government unquestionably did not do.


Resolution of Taylor's appeal requires us to look at the textual elements of the statute. Section 1014 provides, in relevant part:

Whoever knowingly makes any false statement or report ... for the purpose of influencing in any way the action of ... any institution the accounts of which are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ... upon any ... commitment ... or application for ... a guarantee ... shall be [guilty of an offense against the United States].

18 U.S.C. § 1014. It is undisputed that Taylor made false statements of his identity to open accounts, withdraw funds, and obtain cashiers' checks from insured banks. A "cashier's check is a commitment" within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. § 1014. United States v. Boren, 278 F.3d 911, 916 (9th Cir.2002) (quoting United States v. Riley, 550 F.2d 233, 235 (5th Cir.1977) ).

Prior to 1997, most circuits had held that § 1014 reached only those false statements that were "material," that is, having "the capacity to influence the lending institution" with respect to a decision involving the bank's funds. Theron v. U.S. Marshal, 832 F.2d 492, 497 (9th Cir.1987) (citation omitted). The Supreme Court in United States v. Wells, 519 U.S. 482, 489–99, 117 S.Ct. 921, 137 L.Ed.2d 107 (1997), rejected the materiality requirement, holding that materiality of a false statement is not an element of § 1014. The Wells Court relied on the plain text of § 1014, which contains no mention of materiality, as well as on the legislative history of the statute, to determine that there is no materiality requirement. Id.

Relying on Wells, the Fourth Circuit explicitly rejected a risk of loss element. Elliott explained that Wells held that a false statement "need not be material to a financial institution's decision to advance or loan funds." 332 F.3d at 764. If a false statement violates the statute even if it cannot influence any financial decision, then, Elliott concluded, there can be no requirement of risk of financial loss. See id. "Because materiality is not an essential element of § 1014, it would be nonsensical for us to...

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  • United States v. Manlove
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Montana
    • April 3, 2017
    ...of the federally insured institution. 18 U.S.C. § 1014; United States v. Wells, 519 U.S. 482, 496-497 (1997); United States v. Taylor, 808 F.3d 1202,1204 (9th Cir. 2015), cert. denied, 136 S. Ct. 2521 (2016). With respect to the counts of conviction regarding false statements to federally i......

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