Monday, May 22, 2023

Supreme Court win: Ciminelli v. United States

Ciminelli v. United States, 598 U.S. ---- --- S.Ct. ----, S.Ct. No. 21-1170, 2023 WL 3356526 (May 11, 2023)


Defense win: Writing for a unanimous Supreme Court, Justice Thomas held that the Second Circuit’s right-to-control theory cannot form the basis for a conviction under the federal fraud statutes because the right to valuable economic information needed to make discretionary economic decisions is not a traditional property interest. The government conceded that the right-to-control theory was invalid but sought to save the conviction on remand under a fraudulent inducement theory: that Mr. Ciminelli had committed property fraud by engaging in a fraudulent scheme (colluding with the insiders connected to Andrew Cuomo’s administration to be a preferred bidder for contracts in a one billion dollar infrastructure investment campaign) for the purposes of obtaining money (the contract value). This fraudulent inducement theory is questionable as it would make it a federal fraud to lie to obtain property even if there was no deprivation/wronging/harming/loss/even intended loss.

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