United States v. McElvain
272 U.S. 633 (1926)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. McElvain, 272 U.S. 633 (1926)

United States v. McElvain

No. 266

Submitted October 21, 1926

Decided December 6, 1926

272 U.S. 633


1. An indictment, under § 37 of the Criminal Code, for a conspiracy to defraud the United States in respect of its internal revenue by making a false income and profits tax return, is not subject to the statute of limitations for offenses "arising under the internal revenue laws" (Act of July 5, 1884, as amended), but to the three-year limitation imposed by Rev. Stats. §1044. P. 272 U. S. 638.

2. A proviso was added to Rev.Stats. §1044, by the Act of November 17, 1921, 42 Stat. 220, viz.,

"That in offenses involving the defrauding or attempts to defraud the United States or any agency thereof, whether by conspiracy or not, and in any manner, and now indictable under any existing statutes, the period of limitation shall be six years."


(1) The purpose of the proviso is to carve out a special class of cases, and it must be confined, by a strict construction, to the cases clearly within its purpose. P. 272 U. S. 639.

(2) If the proviso relates to any conspiracies under Crim.Code § 37, it is limited to those to commit the substantive offenses which it covers. It does not apply to a conspiracy to defraud the United States in respect of internal revenue. P. 272 U. S. 639.


Error, under the Criminal Appeals Act, to a judgment of the District Court sustaining pleas of the statute of limitations in bar of an indictment for conspiracy

Page 272 U. S. 634

to defraud the United States in respect of its internal revenue.

Page 272 U. S. 636

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