• Supreme Court Pares Back Reach of “Honest Services” Fraud Statute
  • July 15, 2010 | Authors: Iris Bennett; Jessie Kong Liu; Cynthia J. Robertson
  • Law Firm: Jenner & Block LLP - Washington Office
  • On June 24, 2010, the Supreme Court issued three important decisions regarding 18 U.S.C. § 1346, the federal statute that criminalizes “a scheme or artifice to defraud another of the intangible right of honest services.” In Skilling v. United States, the Court substantially narrowed the reach of this so-called “honest services” statute, holding that it applies only to “bribery and kickback schemes,” not to “undisclosed self-dealing by a public official or private employee.” In essence, a defendant cannot be guilty of honest services fraud unless s/he has made (or received) payments to (or from) a third party. Black v. United States and Weyhrauch v. United States vacated and remanded honest services decisions not involving bribes or kickbacks in light of Skilling. These decisions have significant implications for private and public employees seeking to minimize the risk of federal fraud prosecution.