PASQUANTINO et al. v. UNITED STATES
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT
No. 03-725.Argued November 9, 2004--Decided April 26, 2005
Petitioners carried out a scheme to smuggle large quantities of liquor into Canada from the United States to evade Canada's heavy alcohol import taxes. They were convicted of violating the federal wire fraud statute, 18 U. S. C. §1343, for doing so. That statute prohibits the use of interstate wires to effect "any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses." The Fourth Circuit affirmed their convictions, rejecting petitioners' argument that their prosecution contravened the common-law revenue rule, which bars courts from enforcing foreign sovereigns' tax laws. The Fourth Circuit also held that Canada's right to receive tax revenue was "money or property" within §1343's meaning.
Held: A plot to defraud a foreign government of tax revenue violates the federal wire fraud statute. Pp. 3-21.