Bradley attorney Elisha Kobre talked with Bloomberg Law on the breadth of the federal fraud statute and Supreme Court rulings that have increasingly narrowed their scope. The Court has issued multiple decisions, including Percoco and Ciminelli, that reject the aggressive interpretations of those laws over the last decade.
The Supreme Court’s consistent winnowing regarding these statutes has been incremental, however, key questions regarding the scope of the federal fraud statues remain vague. “Percoco was highly fact specific. And aside from striking down the right-to-control theory, Ciminelli did little to advance the ball with respect to defining a traditional property interest,” Kobre said.
The lack of clarity from these decisions on the Court’s behalf has led to some confusion among professionals. Kobre added, “The court said what a property interest isn’t, but not what it is. It was sort of ‘a letdown.’”
Kobre posed the question, “Do you need intent to inflict financial harm or is it enough to defraud to obtain property without inflicting economic loss?” This issue went undecided in Ciminelli. The lower courts are currently litigating what constitutes a property interest.
The full article, “SCOTUS Scales Back Fraud Statutes’ Reach, but Ambiguity Persists,” was published in Bloomberg Law on May 17, 2023.