Utah Supreme Court holds securities fraud, theft and communications fraud are not continuing offenses.

State v Taylor

Taylor was charged with numerous securities fraud and theft counts arising from an alleged Ponzi scheme. He moved to dismiss 8 counts on statute of limitations grounds. The district court ruled securities fraud and theft are continuing crimes and denied the motion. On interlocutory appeal, the court reversed. It held that statutes of limitation will be enforced and that they run from the time all elements of an offense are completed unless there is clear legislative intent to run the statute from some later point and this intent is demonstrated in the terms of the substantive crime involved. The court held securities fraud is not a continuing offense because it is anchored in discrete events and is competed when the securities transaction is complete. The Court noted that other statutes criminalize post transaction behavior which the court declared reinforces the analysis. The court next held that theft is not a continuing offense because the elements are satisfied together and instantaneously, the crime is complete when the property is obtained or controlled with the requisite intent to deprive and other statutes criminalize post theft actions like receiving stolen goods or fencing stolen goods. The case was remanded for the district court to determine which if any of the counts were time barred.

State v Kay

Kay was charged with communications fraud and racketeering. The district court dismissed the charges ruling communications fraud is not a continuing offense and the charges were filed after the statute of limitations had run. The racketeering was also dismissed. The state appealed. The Court affirmed. Applying the rule adopted in Taylor, the Court held communications fraud is not a continuing offense because the crime is complete the moment the fraudulent communication is made and the Legislature declared each communication a separate crime in Utah Code 76-10-1085(5). Thus one scheme can result in many offenses but does not create one continuing offense.