United States v. Barnow,
239 U.S. 74 (1915)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Barnow, 239 U.S. 74 (1915)

United States v. Barnow

No. 454

Argued October 18, 1915

Decided November 8, 1915

239 U.S. 74


The prohibition in § 32, Criminal Code, against falsely assuming or pretending to be an officer of the United States or employee acting under its authority is not confined to false personation of some particular person or class of persons, but prohibits any false assumption or pretense of office or employment under the authority of the United States, or any department or officer of the government, if done with intent to defraud, and accompanied with any of the specified acts done in the pretended character.

The offense under § 32, Criminal Code, is complete on the false personation or pretense and the demanding or obtaining money as the result thereof, even if the person defrauded be not financially injured in consequence thereof.

It is within the power of the United States to prohibit the false personation of its officers or the false assumption of being an officer of the United States, and legislation to that end does not interfere with, or encroach upon, the functions of the states, and so held as to § 32, Criminal Code, construed in this case as including a prohibition of the false pretense of holding a nonexistent office under nonexistent officers of the United States government.

221 F. 140 reversed.

The facts, which involve the construction of § 32 of the Criminal Code and the validity of an indictment thereunder and the extent of the jurisdiction of this Court under the Criminal Appeals Act, are stated in the opinion.

Page 239 U. S. 75

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