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UNITED STATES v. GRAINGER

decided: June 15, 1953.

UNITED STATES
v.
GRAINGER



APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA.*fn*

Vinson, Warren, Black, Reed, Frankfurter, Douglas, Burton, Clark, Minton; Jackson took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Burton

[ 346 U.S. Page 236]

 MR. JUSTICE BURTON delivered the opinion of the Court.

These cases were argued immediately following No. 548, Bridges v. United States, ante, p. 209. They concern the

[ 346 U.S. Page 237]

     Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act which we found inapplicable to the offenses stated in the Bridges indictment. These cases, however, involve different offenses and we hold the Suspension Act applicable to the instant indictments for offenses committed in 1945 and 1946 and we hold that the United States may thus prosecute them in 1952.*fn1

The principal questions here are: (1) whether the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act*fn2 suspended the running of the general three-year statute of limitations*fn3 as to violations of the false claims clause of the False Claims Act,*fn4 and (2) if so, whether the indictments for such offenses, found in 1952, were timely. For the reasons hereafter stated, our answer to each question is in the affirmative.

These indictments were filed in 1952 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The indictment in No. 634 charges appellee Grainger, in 16 counts, with having "unlawfully, knowingly,

[ 346 U.S. Page 238]

     wilfully and fraudulently" presented for payment to the Commodity Credit Corporation, at various times in 1945, claims upon that corporation certifying that appellee had made certain purchases of wool at certain prices, knowing such claims "to be false, fictitious and fraudulent . . . ." It charges, further, that appellee knowingly and falsely certified to the Commodity Credit Corporation that he had paid higher prices for the wool than he actually did.*fn5

The indictment in No. 635 charges appellees Clavere and Kennedy, in 15 counts, with like offenses committed in 1946, including several claims based upon their false certifications of purchases of wool when they knew that they had made no such purchases.

The indictment in No. 636 charges appellees Clavere and Kennedy, in one count, with conspiring to make false, fictitious and fraudulent claims upon the Commodity Credit Corporation*fn6 by making somewhat comparable claims in 1946 and 1947. A second count charges appellees Clavere, Kennedy and Shapiro with engaging in a like conspiracy, with overt acts committed in 1946.*fn7

Appellees moved to dismiss the indictments on the ground, among others, that each was barred by the applicable statute of limitations. The District Court granted the motions and dismissed the indictments. That

[ 346 U.S. Page 239]

     court's unreported opinion concludes with the following statement:

"Accordingly, the Court holds that, as to all three indictments, the three-year statute of limitations fixed by 18 USC section 582 and its successor, 18 USC [Supp. V] section [3282], applies. Because the statute that the various defendants are charged with having violated or with having conspired to violate does not 'denominate' the acts proscribed therein as 'frauds,' or does not, in so many words, have as an 'ingredient' a 'defrauding or an attempt to defraud the United States,' neither the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act of 1942 nor its successor of 1948 can apply."

The United States appealed directly to this Court, under 18 U.S.C. (Supp. V) ยง 3731.*fn8

[ 346 U.S. Page 2401]

     . The running of the general three-year statute of limitations*fn9 was suspended by the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act*fn10 as to violations, in 1945 and 1946, of ...


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