Neder v. United States

527 U.S. 1 (1999)


Neder (D) was indicted for schemes involving land development fraud and various counts of mail and tax fraud. The tax counts charged D with filing false statements of income on his tax returns. D failed to report more than $1 million in 1985 and $4 million in 1986. Both these amounts represented the profits D obtained from fraudulent real estate loans. The District Court instructed the jury that to convict on the tax offenses, it need not consider the materiality of any false statements even though that language was used in the indictment. The court instructed the jury that the question of materiality was not an issue for the jury to decide. D was convicted and ordered to pay restitution. The 11th Circuit affirmed that conviction. It held that the District Court erred in failing to submit the materiality element to the jury but that the error was harmless because materiality was not in dispute and the error did not contribute to the verdict obtained (Yates).