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United States v. Olson

856 F.3d 1216 (2017)

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United States v. Olson

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

856 F.3d 1216 (2017)

Facts

Kyle Beus applied for and received a federal grant to open a facility to manufacture ice cream and cheese. Karen Olson (defendant) helped set up a milk-processing facility using a similar federal grant. Both grant applications contained warnings that misusing the grant money was a felony. The two new facilities were established using a shared location. However, Beus misused his grant money for personal matters. Through the shared-location arrangement, Olson learned about some of the misuse. Olson later helped submit grant-use reports to the federal government that contained information about Beus’s usage that Olson knew was false. Olson later learned that Beus had committed additional, significant misuses of his grant money. Olson made notes and communicated with others about her belief that Beus’s conduct was inappropriate and illegal. However, Olson did not report the information to federal authorities. Olson was eventually charged with the federal crime of misprision of felony, i.e., failing to report a known felony, for not having reported Beus’s felonious activities. A jury convicted Olson of misprision of felony, and she appealed to the Ninth Circuit. On appeal, the parties disagreed about whether a person could commit misprision of felony if the person knew only about the wrongdoer’s bad conduct, or if the person also needed to know that the bad conduct was a felony.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Fisher, J.)

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