UNITED STATES V. MAZE, 414 U. S. 395 (1974)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Maze, 414 U.S. 395 (1974)

United States v. Maze

No. 72-1168

Argued November 13-14, 1973

Decided January 8, 1974

414 U.S. 395


Respondent was convicted of violating the federal mail fraud statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1341, by devising a scheme to defraud through unlawfully obtaining possession from one Meredith of a credit card issued by a Louisville bank, which respondent used to obtain goods and services from motel operators in various States knowing that the operators to whom he presented the card for payment would mail the sales slips to the Louisville bank, which would in turn mail them to Meredith. Section 1341 makes it a crime, inter alia, for a person who has devised a scheme to defraud or for obtaining money or property by means of false pretenses for the purpose of executing the scheme knowingly to cause to be delivered by mail according to the direction thereon any thing delivered by the Postal Service. The Court of Appeals reversed the judgment of conviction on the ground that § 1341 was inapplicable to respondent's conduct.

Held: The mailings were not sufficiently closely related to respondent's scheme to bring his conduct within the statute. Though mailings were to be directed to adjusting the accounts between respondent's victims (the motels, the Louisville bank, and Meredith), they were not for the purpose of executing the scheme embraced by the statute, since that scheme had already reached fruition when respondent checked out of the motel, and did not depend on which of his victims ultimately bore the loss. Pereira v. United States, 347 U. S. 1; United States v. Sampson, 371 U. S. 75, distinguished. Pp. 414 U. S. 398-405.

468 F.2d 529, affirmed.

REHNQUIST, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which DOUGLAS, STEWART, MARSHALL, and POWELL, JJ., joined. BURGER, C.J.,filed a dissenting opinion, in which WHITE, J., joined, post, p. 414 U. S. 405. WHITE, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BURGER, C.J.,and BRENNAN and BLACKMUN, JJ., joined, post, p. 414 U. S. 408.

Page 414 U. S. 396

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