Rutkin v. United States,
343 U.S. 130 (1952)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Rutkin v. United States, 343 U.S. 130 (1952)

Rutkin v. United States

No. 195

Argued December 3, 1951

Decided March 24, 1952

343 U.S. 130


1. Money obtained by extortion is income taxable to the extortioner under § 22(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. Pp. 343 U. S. 131-139.

(a) An unlawful gain, as well as a lawful one, constitutes taxable income when its recipient has such control over it that, as a practical matter, he derives readily realizable economic value from it. P. 343 U. S. 137.

2. Under the instructions given the jury in the prosecution of petitioner for willfully attempting to evade and defeat federal taxes, the verdict of the jury must be taken as reflecting its conclusion that the money in question was obtained by petitioner by extortion, and there was substantial evidence supporting that result. Pp. 132-137.

3. The factual issue whether, under all the circumstances, petitioner's omission of the amount in question from his tax return constituted a willful attempt to evade and defeat the federal tax is not open to review here, since that issue is settled by the verdict of the jury supported by substantial evidence. Spies v. United States, 317 U. S. 492, applied. P. 343 U. S. 135.

4. The case of Commissioner v. Wilcox, 327 U. S. 404, is limited to its facts. P. 343 U. S. 138.

5. Congress has power under the Sixteenth Amendment to tax as income monies received by extortion. Pp. 343 U. S. 138-139.

189 F.2d 431 affirmed.

Petitioner was convicted in the Federal District Court under 26 U.S.C. § 145(b) for willfully attempting to evade or defeat federal taxes. The Court of Appeals affirmed. 189 F.2d 431. This Court granted certiorari. 342 U.S. 808. Affirmed, p. 343 U. S. 139.

Page 343 U. S. 131

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