Theft of US Money – In a prosecution for theft of money belonging to the U.S. under 18 USC 641, the Government does not have to prove that a defendant knew the money in question belonged to the U.S.
Eddie Hicks was convicted of several charges, including theft of U.S. money under 18 USC 641, based on his and co-conspirators scheme to use their positions as police officers to rob drug dealers. On some occasions, the money he stole was planted by the FBI, which planted the money as part of its investigation into Hicks.
On appeal, Hicks challenged his convictions, including his conviction under Section 641. He argued that the Government did not prove that he knew the money he stole belonged to the FBI. Hicks believed the money he stole belonged to the drug dealers.
The Seventh Circuit rejected Hicks’ argument. Citing precedent from almost every other circuit, including the Seventh, the Court concluded that knowledge of the property’s owner is irrelevant under Section 641. Moreover, the U.S. Supreme Court has previously held that prosecution under 18 USC 111, for attacking a federal agent, does not require knowledge of the victim’s federal employment.
Appeal from the Northern District of Illinois
Opinion by Easterbrook
Click here to read the opinion.