4.18.1001 Making a False Statement to a Federal Agency, 18 U.S.C. § 1001 See Statute

[Defendant] is charged with making a false statement in a matter within the jurisdiction of a government agency. It is against federal law to make a false statement in a matter within the jurisdiction of a government agency. For you to find the defendant guilty of this crime you must be convinced that the government has proven each of these things beyond a reasonable doubt:

First, that [defendant] knowingly made a material false statement;

Second, that [defendant] made the statement voluntarily and intentionally; and

Third, that [defendant] made the statement in a [e.g., U.S. Customs declaration].

A false statement is made "knowingly" if the defendant knew that it was false or demonstrated a reckless disregard for the truth with a conscious purpose to avoid learning the truth.

A statement is "material" if it has a natural tendency to influence or to be capable of influencing the decision of the decisionmaker to which it was addressed, regardless of whether the agency actually relied upon it.

A statement is "false" if it was untrue when made.


(1) A false "exculpatory no" is sufficient. Brogan v. United States, 522 U.S. 398, 408 (1998), overruling United States v. Chevoor, 526 F.2d 178, 183-84 (1st Cir. 1975). "To prove a false statement in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001, the government must show that the defendant: (1) knowingly and willfully, (2) made a statement, (3) in relation to a matter within the jurisdiction of a department or agency of the United States, (4) with knowledge of its falsity." United States v. Duclos, 214 F.3d 27, 33 (1st Cir. 2000).

(2) The charge refers only to false statements. Section 1001, the False Statements Accountability Act of 1996, is much broader, and in a given case the instruction will need to be modified to deal with the other potential violations. See 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(1)-(3) (punishing one who "knowingly and willfully (1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact; (2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or (3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or entry") (as amended by PL 104-292, Oct. 11, 1996).

(3) In United States v. London, 66 F.3d 1227, 1241-42 (1st Cir. 1995), the First Circuit stated that "[i]n the context of the False Statements Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1001, a false statement is made knowingly if defendant demonstrated a reckless disregard of the truth, with a conscious purpose to avoid learning the truth." The First Circuit also has approved instructing the jury on good faith and referring to advice of counsel in that respect. United States v. Arcadipane, 41 F.3d 1, 8 (1st Cir. 1994); see also United States v. Dockray, 943 F.2d 152, 155 (1st Cir. 1991) ("[G]ood faith is an absolute defense to a charge of mail or wire fraud. . . .").

(4) In United States v. Gaudin, 515 U.S. 506, 511 (1995), the Supreme Court held that the issue of materiality is for the jury.

(5) The definition of materiality is based upon both United States v. Sebaggala, 256 F.3d 59, 65 (1st Cir. 2001), and the court's description of what the parties agreed to as a definition in Gaudin, 515 U.S. at 509. Accord Arcadipane, 41 F.3d at 7 ("[M]ateriality requires only that the fraud in question have a natural tendency to influence, or be capable of affecting or influencing, a governmental function. The alleged concealment or misrepresentation need not have influenced the actions of the Government agency, and the Government agents need not have been actually deceived." (quoting United States v. Corsino, 812 F.2d 26, 30 (1st Cir. 1986))).

(6) The statute deals only with false statements "within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States." 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a). It seems best to specify in the instruction the document or other context in which the false statement was allegedly made. Whether it was made there is a jury issue. It should be a separate question for the judge whether that document or context brings it "within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States." Id.

(7) The government is not required to prove that the defendant had a purpose to mislead a federal agency, United States v. Yermian, 468 U.S. 63, 68-75 (1984), or that the statement was made for a fraudulent purpose. United States v. McGauley, 279 F.3d 62, 69 (1st Cir. 2002).