Friday, February 08, 2019

False Claims Act Conviction Supported by Sufficient Evidence

United States v. Glaub, 910 F.3d 1334 (10th Cir. 2018) (CO): Glaub “purchased” a $73k Corvette by sending the purchase order to the government. (He sent other bills as well.) He argued that he had a First Amendment right to ‘petition’ the government and his intent was not fraudulent because he believed the government should pay a citizen’s debt. The panel wasn’t convinced. It affirmed his convictions for violating 18 U.S.C. § 287, the False Claims Act. It was for the jury to decide if Glaub had the requisite criminal intent when he sent his bills to the Dept. of Agriculture. The panel said the First Amendment provides no protection for knowingly fraudulent or frivolous claims. Still, the district court instructed the jury on Glaub’s theory of defense - that his political associations and beliefs colored his perceptions and therefore, he did not have the intent to defraud the government or to submit a false or fraudulent claim. Evidently, the jury believed the government’s evidence was sufficient. The Circuit agreed.