The federal government (plaintiff) prosecuted George Chandler and 42 other individuals (defendants) for a single conspiracy to commit fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371. The indictment did not charge Jerome Jacobson, who was separately convicted of embezzlement. The federal district court trial evidence established that Jacobson was the security director for a company that managed promotional games with high-value prizes for the McDonalds restaurant chain. Jacobson pocketed winning game tokens and gave them to Chandler and nine other friends and relatives ("recruits"), who in turn distributed the tokens to 33 other friends and relatives ("winners"). Each winner redeemed his token and shared the prize money with his recruit, who turned over a portion of the winnings to Jacobson. The government conceded that none of the recruits or winners was aware of the others' existence, or that Jacobson stole the winning tokens, or that they were participants in Jacobson's grand scheme to profit from his crime. The jury convicted the defendants, who then appealed to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.