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Bell v. United States

United States Supreme Court
462 U.S. 356 (1983)



A Cincinnati man wrote a check for $10,000 drawn on a local bank and mailed it to Dade Federal Savings & Loan (Dade Federal) in Miami, Florida, to be deposited into his account there. The Dade Federal employee never received the check. Four days later, Nelson Bell (defendant) opened an account at a Dade Federal branch and deposited the minimum required amount of $50. Bell used his own name, but gave a false address, birth date, and social security number. Later that day, Bell deposited the Cincinnati man’s $10,000 check at another Dade Federal branch into his own account. The endorsement had been altered to show Bell’s account number. Dade Federal accepted Bell’s deposit, but put a 20-day hold on the funds. As soon as the 20 days expired, Bell returned to Dade Federal, closed his account, and received $10,080. Bell was charged with violating the Federal Bank Robbery Act under 18 U.S.C. § 2113(b). Bell was convicted and he appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Powell, J.)

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