United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Interstate transportation of stolen property — sufficiency of the evidence
Obtaining property by fraud is stealing within the definition of 18 U.S.C. 2314.
“Mr. Natour asserts that any ambiguity in the meaning of the statute requires the court to employ the rule of lenity in favor of Mr. Natour. As the Supreme Court has cautioned, however, ‘we have always reserved lenity for those situations in which a reasonable doubt persists about a statute’s intended scope even after resort to the language and structure, legislative history, and motivating policies of the statute.’ Moskal v. United States, 498 U.S. 103, 108 (1990) (citation omitted) (internal quotation marks omitted) (rejecting a plea for application of the rule of lenity to § 2314 after concluding that the defendant’s conduct unambiguously fell within the statute). Our review of the appropriate sources leaves us with no such ambiguity.”
“Because we conclude that the terms included within the indictment were themselves sufficiently broad enough to encompass goods ‘taken by fraud,’ we also must conclude that the proof at trial and the jury instructions did not constructively amend Mr. Natour’s indictment. The district court did not plainly err in instructing the jury using a related pattern instruction that incorporated ‘fraud’ into the definition of ‘stolen.’”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Bucklo, J., Ripple, J.