4.18.2314 Interstate Transportation of Stolen Money or Property,

18 U.S.C. § 2314 See Statute

[Defendant] is accused of taking stolen [money; property], from [state] to [state], on or about [date]. It is against federal law to transport [money; property] from one state to another knowing that the [money; property] is stolen. For you to find [defendant] guilty of this crime, you must be convinced that the government has proven each of these things beyond a reasonable doubt:

First, that the [money; property] was stolen;

Second, that [defendant] took the [money; property] from [state] to [state], or willfully caused it to be taken;

Third, that, when [defendant] took the [money; property] from [state] to [state], or willfully caused it to be taken, [he/she] knew that it was stolen;

Fourth, that the [money; property] [totaled; was worth] $5,000 or more.

It does not matter whether [defendant] stole the [money; property] or someone else did. However, for you to find [defendant] guilty of this crime, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that [he/she] took at least $5,000 [worth of property] or willfully caused at least $5,000 [worth of property] to be taken from [state] to [state] knowing it was stolen.


(1) The government must prove that a defendant caused stolen money or property to be transported; it is not necessary to prove that he or she actually transmitted or transported the money or property himself or herself. United States v. Doane, 975 F.2d 8, 11 (1st Cir. 1992).

Where liability is based on causing transportation rather than on transporting, the government must prove that the causation was “willful.” United States v. Leppo, 177 F.3d 93, 97 (1st Cir. 1999). The willfulness requirement derives from 18 U.S.C. § 2(b), not from 18 U.S.C. § 2314 itself, and applies automatically, even where the indictment makes no reference to aider and abettor liability under section 2(b). Id.

The First Circuit has left open the precise definition of the “willfulness” mental state. Ignorant causation-in-fact is not sufficient, but the court has not necessarily rejected reasonable foreseeability. See id. at 96-97. Accordingly, there is no clear guidance from the court on the proper definition of “willfully” for purposes of this statute. Trial judges may wish to use the definition proposed for 18 U.S.C. § 2(b), see Pattern Instruction 4.18.02 (Aid and Abet), unless the First Circuit clearly rules that a lesser mental state suffices.

(2) Unexplained possession of recently stolen money or property may be used to support an inference that the possessor knew it was stolen in the light of surrounding circumstances shown by evidence in the case so long as the jury is instructed that the inference is permissible, not mandatory. United States v. Thuna, 786 F.2d 437, 444-45 (1st Cir. 1986); see also United States v. Lavoie, 721 F.2d 407, 409-10 (1st Cir. 1983) (same in context of 18 U.S.C. § 2313); cf. Freije v. United States, 386 F.2d 408, 410-11 (1st Cir. 1967) (defendants who come forward with an explanation for possession of stolen vehicles are entitled to an instruction that the explanation, if believed, negates any inference of knowledge arising from mere fact of possession). Such possession also may support an inference regarding interstate transportation. See Thuna, 786 F.2d at 444-45 (possession in one state of property recently stolen in another state, if not satisfactorily explained, is a circumstance from which a jury may infer that the person knew the property to be stolen and caused it to be transported in interstate commerce).

(3) This instruction can be modified for the transportation, transmission or transfer of stolen money or property in foreign commerce or for items converted or taken by fraud. 18 U.S.C. § 2314.

(4) This instruction also can be adapted for cases concerning the transportation of stolen vehicles. 18 U.S.C. § 2312.

(5) For cases in which the definition of “value” is important, 18 U.S.C. § 2311 defines “value” as “the face, par, or market value, whichever is the greatest.” The conventional definition of “market value” is the price that a willing buyer would pay a willing seller. See, e.g., United States v. Wentz, 800 F.2d 1325, 1326 (4th Cir. 1986); United States v. Bakken, 734 F.2d 1273, 1278 (7th Cir. 1984); United States v. Reid, 586 F.2d 393, 394 (5th Cir. 1978).