UNITED STATES v. WOODWARD
ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT
Decided January 7, 1985
In passing through Customs at Los Angeles International Airport, respondent checked the "no" box of the usual form with respect to the question whether he or any family member was carrying over $5,000. However, after being questioned by customs officials and informed that he would be subjected to a search, he admitted that he and his wife were carrying over $20,000 cash, which they then produced. Respondent was subsequently convicted and sentenced to consecutive sentences in Federal District Court under two counts in an indictment charging him with the felony of making a false statement to a United States agency in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1001, and with the misdemeanor of willfully failing to report that he was carrying more than $5,000 into the United States, in violation of 31 U.S.C. 1058, 1101 (1976 ed.). Both counts were based on the same conduct - answering "no" to the customs form question. However, the felony false statement conviction was reversed by the Court of Appeals, which held that Congress intended someone in respondent's position to be punished only for the currency reporting misdemeanor. The court applied the rule of Blockburger v. United States, 284 U.S. 299 , for determining whether Congress intended to permit cumulative punishment - that is, whether each statutory provision requires proof of a fact which the other does not - and concluded that every currency reporting offense necessarily entails a violation of the false statement law.
The Court of Appeals misapplied the Blockburger rule. Proof of a currency reporting violation does not necessarily include proof of a false statement offense, since 1001 proscribes the nondisclosure of a material fact only if the fact is concealed "by any trick, scheme, or device," and a person could, without employing a "trick, scheme, or device," simply and willfully fail to file a currency disclosure report. There is no evidence that Congress did not intend to allow separate punishment for the two different offenses here. Moreover, Congress' intent to allow punishment for both offenses is shown by the fact that the statutes are directed to separate evils.
Certiorari granted; 726 F.2d 1320, reversed in part and remanded. [469 U.S. 105, 106]
On March 1, 1980, respondent Charles Woodward and his wife arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on a flight from Brazil. In passing through Customs, respondent was handed the usual form that included the following question:
After questioning respondent for a brief period, customs officials decided to search respondent and his wife. As he was being escorted to a search room, respondent told an official that he and his wife were carrying over $20,000 in cash. Woodward removed approximately $12,000 from his boot; another $10,000 was found in a makeshift money belt concealed under his wife's clothing.
Woodward was indicted on charges of making a false statement to an agency of the United States, 18 U.S.C. 1001, 1 and willfully failing to report that he was carrying in excess of $5,000 into the United States, 84 Stat. 1121, 1122, 31 U.S.C. 1058, 1101 (1976 ed.). 2 The same conduct - [469 U.S. 105, 107] answering "no" to the question whether he was carrying more than $5,000 into the country - formed the basis of each count. A jury convicted Woodward on both charges; he received a sentence of six months in prison on the false statement count, and a consecutive 3-year term of probation on the currency reporting count. During the proceedings in the District Court, the respondent never asserted that Congress did not intend to permit cumulative punishment for conduct violating the false statement and the currency reporting statutes.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, after inviting briefs on the subject, held that respondent's conduct could not be punished under both 18 U.S.C. 1001 and 31 U.S.C. 1058, 1101 (1976 ed.). See 726 F.2d 1320 (1983). The court applied the rule of statutory construction contained in Blockburger v. United States, 284 U.S. 299, 304 (1932) - "`whether each provision requires proof of a fact which the other does not'" - and held that the false statement felony was a lesser included offense of the currency reporting misdemeanor. 726 F.2d, at 1323. In other words, every violation of the currency reporting statute necessarily entails a violation of the false statement law. 3 The court reasoned [469 U.S. 105, 108] that a willful failure to file a required report is a form of concealment prohibited by 18 U.S.C. 1001. Concluding that Congress presumably intended someone in respondent's position to be punished only under the currency reporting misdemeanor, the Court of Appeals reversed respondent's felony conviction for making a false statement. See 726 F.2d, at 1327.
The Court of Appeals plainly misapplied the Blockburger rule for determining whether Congress intended to permit cumulative punishment; proof of a currency reporting violation does not necessarily include proof of a false statement offense. Section 1001 proscribes the nondisclosure of a material fact only if the fact is "conceal[ed] . . . by any trick, scheme, or device." (Emphasis added.) 4 A person could, without employing a "trick, scheme, or device," simply and willfully fail to file a currency disclosure report. A traveler who enters the country and passes through Customs prepared to answer questions truthfully, but is never asked whether he is carrying over $5,000 in currency, might nonetheless be subject to conviction under 31 U.S.C. 1058 (1976 ed.) for willfully transporting money without filing the required currency report. However, because he did not conceal a material fact by means of a "trick, scheme, or device," (and did not make any false statement) his conduct would not fall within 18 U.S.C. 1001. 5
There is no evidence in 18 U.S.C. 1001 and 31 U.S.C. 1058, 1101 (1976 ed.) that Congress did not intend to allow separate punishment for the two different offenses. See generally Albernaz v. United States, 450 U.S. 333, 340 [469 U.S. 105, 109] (1981); Missouri v. Hunter, 459 U.S. 359, 367 (1983). Sections 1058 and 1101 were enacted by Congress in 1970 as part of the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act, Pub. L. 91-508, Tit. II, 84 Stat. 1118 et seq. Section 203(k) of that Act expressly provided:
Finally, Congress' intent to allow punishment under both 18 U.S.C. 1001 and 31 U.S.C. 1058, 1101 (1976 ed.) is shown by the fact that the statutes "are directed to separate evils." See Albernaz, supra, at 343. The currency reporting statute was enacted to develop records that would "have a high degree of usefulness in criminal, tax, or regulatory investigations." 31 U.S.C. 1051 (1976 ed.). The false statement statute, on the other hand, was designed "to protect the authorized functions of governmental departments and agencies from the perversion which might result from the deceptive practices described." United States v. Gilliland, 312 U.S. 86, 93 (1941).
All guides to legislative intent reveal that Congress intended respondent's conduct to be punishable under both [469 U.S. 105, 110] 18 U.S.C. 1001, and 31 U.S.C. 1058, 1101 (1976 ed.). Accordingly, the petition for a writ of certiorari is granted, and that part of the Court of Appeals' judgment reversing respondent's 18 U.S.C. 1001 conviction is reversed.
[ Footnote 2 ] Title 31 U.S.C. 1101(a) (1976 ed.) provides in pertinent part:
Title 31 U.S.C. 1058 (1976 ed.) provides:
[ Footnote 3 ] The converse is clearly not true; 31 U.S.C. 1058, 1101 (1976 ed.), but not 18 U.S.C. 1001, involve the failure to file a currency disclosure report.
[ Footnote 4 ] In Woodward's case, the Government did not have to prove the existence of a trick, scheme, or device. Woodward was charged with violating 1001 because he made a false statement on the customs form. This type of affirmative misrepresentation is proscribed under the statute even if not accompanied by a trick, scheme, or device.
[ Footnote 5 ] See United States v. London, 550 F.2d 206, 213 (CA5 1977) ( 1001 requires "affirmative act by which means a material fact is concealed").
[ Footnote 6 ] When Title 31 was recodified in 1982, this provision was eliminated as "[u]nnecessary" because "Section 1001 applies unless otherwise provided." H. R. Rep. No. 97-651, p. 301 (1982). [469 U.S. 105, 111]