The Court of Appeals Joined its Sister Circuits in Hold that the Jury Need not be Unanimous on Each Specific Fraudulent Act in a Wire or Mail Fraud Charge, Unanimity is Only Required on the Elements of the Offense

Seventh Circuit Criminal Case Summaries: Offenses - Mail Fraud

United States v. Daniel, No. 13-2399. Daniel was charged with wire fraud and mail fraud after participating in a mortgage fraud scheme. He argued on appeal that the district court erred by failing to instruct the jury that they were required to reach an unanimous verdict as to a specific fraudulent act or representation pursuant to Pattern Criminal Jury Instruction 4.04. The Court of Appeals disagreed and held that while a jury’s unanimity is required in regard to each principal element of a criminal offense, a federal jury need not always decide unanimously which of several possible sets of acts make up a particular element of the offense. The Court agreed with three of its sister circuits who have held that a single false representation or omission used to execute a fraudulent scheme is properly characterized as a means to executing the scheme, not one of the elements of the mail or wire fraud offense.