Government Using 1948 Law to Prosecute Statute of Limitation Cases

Tuesday, 16 Apr 2013 01:18 PM

By Lisa Barron

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
The Department of Justice, under pressure from some in Congress to get tougher on financial crimes, is turning to obscure laws to buy itself more time to prosecute statute of limitation cases, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Prosecutors in Manhattan reportedly sued Wells Fargo & Co. in December for allegedly defrauding the Federal Housing Authority out of hundreds of millions of dollars by writing fake loans and then hiding them from government guarantors. By that time, however, the statue of limitations on much of the alleged wrongdoing had run out.

The government, though, argued that the limitations don’t apply because under the 1948 Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act prosecutors have unlimited time to pursue alleged fraud during times of war. And the U.S. is currently at war in Afghanistan.

Wells Fargo has denied the original charges and countered in a February legal brief that the allegations had “nothing to do with wartime contracting,” the context in which the 1948 law was enacted, according to the Journal.

This is not the first time the government has used such an argument. According to the Journal, it invoked the 1948 law 12 times between 2008 and 2012, as many as it had in the previous 47 years. The department began utilizing the old statute following passage of a 2008 congressional amendment extending the amount of time after the cessation of hostilities from three years to five years and added language specifying that the law didn’t require an actual declaration of war to be used.

Defense attorneys, however, claim government prosecutors are contorting the laws to serve purposes for which they were not intended. The Journal noted that lawyers for French bank BNP Paribas SA against charges of defrauding a farm futures guarantee program wrote in a February 2012 brief that if the court allowed the use of the wartime law, it “would lead to absurd results.”

If the government’s definition of “war time” were applied to other conflicts, “the conflict in Korea may be continuing as a war to this day,” the lawyers wrote in the brief.

A judge in Texas allowed the case to proceed in August, but not all of the government’s attempts to extend the statute of limitations have worked.

The Supreme Court in January reportedly rejected the Securities and Exchange Commission’s attempt to extend a five-year statute on securities violations; it sued a former money manager and an executive at Gabelli Funds six years after they allegedly took part in a market-timing scheme.

Although a lower court upheld the government’s case, the Supreme Court ruled against the SEC. In its unanimous opinion, the Journal reported, the court quoted former Chief Justice John Marshall, who said that eliminating the statute of limitations “would be utterly repugnant to the genius of our laws.”






© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

GOP Makes Inroads in Mass. Statewide Elections

Friday, 24 Oct 2014 19:51 PM

Republicans in solidly blue-state Massachusetts have been surging in major statewide campaigns in recent years - includi . . .

Paul Ryan Hires Romney's GOP Convention Filmmaker

Friday, 24 Oct 2014 17:38 PM

Rep. Paul Ryan has hired the filmmaker who directed and edited a prize-winning video used for introducing Mitt Romney at . . .

Susan B. Anthony List Aiming at Pro-Life Female Democrats

Friday, 24 Oct 2014 17:21 PM

The pro-life Susan B. Anthony List is targeting women in Democratic households in hopes of convincing them to vote for c . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved