United States v. Murphy, No. 15-50023 (9th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Defendant appealed his conviction and sentence for interfering with the administration of the tax laws in violation of 26 U.S.C. 7212, presenting fictitious financial instruments in violation of 18 U.S.C. 514, and presenting false claims to the United States in violation of 18 U.S.C. 287. The court concluded that the evidence was sufficient to preclude a judgment of acquittal on the section 514 counts. Because, however, it was not so overwhelming that it negated the prejudice flowing from the lack of any instruction that the financial instruments in question had to be issued “under the authority of the United States,” the court remanded for a new trial. The court also concluded that it was not error for the district court not to instruct the jury that an attempt to reduce tax liability is not a “claim” within the meaning of section 287; the section 7212 charge was timely; the court agreed with the Fourth Circuit that a charge under section 7212 is timely so long as it is returned within six years of an affirmative act of evasion, even if the evasion first began outside the period; the section 7212(a) charge was not duplicitous; and, even if the government’s rebuttal summation had been improper, it was harmless. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded.