Jones v. United States,
258 U.S. 40 (1922)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Jones v. United States, 258 U.S. 40 (1922)

Jones v. United States

No. 103

Argued January 20, 1922

Decided February 27, 1922

258 U.S. 40


1. One who, in pursuance of a scheme to acquire the land for himself, procures others to make homestead applications and entries, knowing that they have no intention to establish residence or otherwise comply with the law and that their proofs to the contrary, made with his connivance, and upon the faith of which the patents are issued, are false is guilty of defrauding the United States of the value of the land. P. 258 U. S. 47.

2. The right of the United States to recover damages for such a fraud is not defeated by the facts that the period of residence stated in the entry proofs was insufficient to comply with the statute and that, but for a mistake of law in that regard upon the part of the Land Department, the patents would not have issued. P. 258 U. S. 46.

3. In an action for fraud by inducing fraudulent entries resulting in patents, evidence that the defendant induced other entrymen to file on other land and of his conduct touching contracts on similar claims is admissible as bearing on his knowledge and intent if

Page 258 U. S. 41

the judge, in his discretion, does not regard it as too remote or as raising too lengthy and complex collateral issues, even if afterward explained by the defendant. P. 258 U. S. 48.

4. Evidence of current rates for similar lands situate in adjacent townships, given by experts who learned the rates by experience and report, held admissible to prove value of the lands in question. P. 258 U. S. 48.

5. In an action for defrauding the government of public land by procuring false proofs upon which patents were issued, held that an instruction directing the jury, if they found for the plaintiff, to measure the damages at the market value with legal interest at 6 percent from the date of the final certificate to that of the trial was not a ground for reversing the judgment rendered for the United States. P. 258 U. S. 49.

265 F. 235 affirmed.

Error to a judgment of the circuit court of appeals affirming a judgment for the United States in the district court in an action to recover the value of public lands patented as a result of fraudulent entries and proofs procured by the defendant.

Page 258 U. S. 45

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