A conspiracy, having for its object the commission of an offense denounced by the Bankruptcy Act, is not, in itself, an offense arising under that act within the meaning of § 29a thereof, and the one-year period of limitation prescribed by that section does not apply.
We cannot agree that there is anything unreasonable or inconsistent with the general policy of the Bankruptcy Act in allowing a longer period for the prosecution of a conspiracy to violate one of its penal clauses than for the violation itself. For two or more to confederate and combine together to commit or cause to be committed a breach of the criminal laws is an offense of the gravest character, sometimes quite outweighing, in injury to the public, the mere commission of the contemplated crime. It involves deliberate plotting to subvert the laws, educating and preparing the conspirators for further and habitual criminal practices. And it is characterized by secrecy, rendering it difficult of detection, requiring more time for its discovery, and adding to the importance of punishing it when discovered.
A conspiracy to commit a crime, as defined in and punished by § 37, Criminal Code (§ 5440, Rev.Stat.) is a different offense from the crime that is the object of the conspiracy.
Mere conspiracy, without an overt act done in pursuance of it, is not criminally punishable under § 37, Criminal Code.
Quaere whether the crime of concealing from the trustee property belonging to the bankrupt estate, as defined in § 29b(1) of the Bankrupt Act can be perpetrated by anyone other than a bankrupt or one who has received a discharge as such.
In construing the criminal statutes involved in this action, this Court attribute to Congress, in the absence of any inconsistent expression, a tacit purpose to maintain a long established and important distinction between offenses essentially different.
The facts, which involve the construction of § 29b of the Bankruptcy Act and § 37 of the Criminal Code (§ 5440, Rev.Stat.) in regard to conspiracies to commit crimes against the United States are stated in the opinion.
Part 1: Introduction to Conspiracy Law. Multi-part series exploring criminal conspiracy cases.
Part 2: Conspiracies | Pinkerton Liability | Co-conspirators responsible for each others crimes.
Full case here: United States v. Rabinowich, 238 U.S. 78 (1915), https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/238/78/
Anton Vialtsin, Esq.
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