United States v. Maher

582 F.2d 842 (1978)

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United States v. Maher

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
582 F.2d 842 (1978)

  • Written by Sharon Feldman, JD

Facts

Alvin Maher (defendant) was an officer of General Environments Corporation (GEC). GEC conducted experiments for government clients for either a fixed price or a price based on time and materials. GEC entered into various time-and-materials contracts with an entity within the Department of the Army (the Army entity). It was GEC’s practice to stop working on an experiment and seek additional funding whenever costs exceeded the contract price. Maher instructed the bookkeeper to change the bills that were submitted to the Army entity to reflect more hours than those shown on employees’ time sheets. Maher was indicted for filing false, fictitious, or fraudulent claims with the U.S. government in violation of the false-claims statute. At trial, Maher claimed that this billing approach had a legitimate business purpose because the experiments could not be performed efficiently if they were delayed pending receipt of additional funding whenever a cost overrun occurred. To avoid cost overruns, employees were shifting hours away from the Army entity’s contracts, and Maher was shifting them back to make sure the proper amounts were invoiced to each project. Maher maintained that he was not motivated by an intent to defraud the government. Maher was convicted. On appeal, Maher argued that the district court should have instructed the jury that the intent required for conviction was specific intent to defraud the government.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hall, J.)

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