The federal statute criminalizing false statements, 18 U.S.C. § 1001, is one of the most widely-used tools in a federal prosecutor’s toolbox.  The statute criminalizes “knowingly and willfully” making a false statement to a federal officer, including law enforcement agents.  Recently, however, the Department of Justice has signaled that it intends to rein in some of the breadth of the statute, endorsing the interpretation that Section 1001 requires the government to meet a higher burden when demonstrating that the defendant “willfully” made a false statement.  In short, the DOJ now takes the view that to successfully convict a defendant under Section 1001, the defendant must have made the false statement knowing that the act of doing so was a violation of federal law.
Continue Reading DOJ Trims Away Some Excess of the Federal False Statement Statute