The Federal Reporter with Key-Number Annotations, Volume 256: Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit Courts of Appeals and District Courts of the United States, May-July, 1919. Page: 56
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
256 FEDERAL REPORTER
tion of paid checks, were not prompted by an intent to conceal finan-
cial condition, are by no means so plainly erroneous that they can be
set aside and disregarded. None of these specifications is sustained.
The only other specification is based on the giving by the bankrupt
of a worthless check. The facts are not in dispute, and are as fol-
The bankrupt had a trading or speculating account with J. R. Wil-
liston & Co., stockbrokers. In August, 1916, they called on him for
additional margin. He thereupon gave them his check to their order
for $5,000, dated August 9, 1916, and drawn on the International
Trust Company of Boston. As I understand the facts, the check was
not dated ahead, but was delivered to Williston & Co. on its date
and in the ordinary course of business. On that day and on the day
previous the bankrupt's account at the Trust Company was overdrawn
more than $1,500, and it had been continuously overdrawn since Au-
gust 6th. He had no credit balance on it until September 16, 1916,
when one of less than $30 is shown. For a considerable period prior
to August 9th the bankrupt's bank account had been overdrawn much
of the time. The $5,000 check was presented for payment on August
10th, and payment was refused. The bankrupt knew that he had not
$5,000, nor anything like that sum, on deposit when he delivered the
check; it was much larger than he was in the habit of drawing, and
it does not appear that he had any reason to believe, or did believe,
that it would be paid when presented.
The learned referee ruled that the check was not a materially
false statement in writing made for the purpose of obtaining credit.
He was apparently of opinion that the statement intended by section
14b (3) of the Bankruptcy Act (Act July 1, 1898, c. 541, 30 Stat. 550
[Comp. St. 9598]) was a statement of financial condition only, like
a commercial report. This is the view taken, with qualifications, by the
District Court of Montana in Rea Bros., 251 Fed. 431.
Just what is meant by "a financial statement," or "a statement of
financial condition," in this connection is not obvious. Must it be an
asset and liability statement? Must it purport to be complete? If
not, would a very condensed abstract showing net worth be within the
act? It would seem that it must be so. But it would be a curious
corollary that if the statement be not in the form of a commercial
report (i. e., not in columns of figures), or be limited to a single piece
of property, ownership of which is asserted, it is not within the act.
In re Pincus (D. C.) 147 Fed. 621, 623, it was held that a false state-
ment as to a single item of $10,000 noted at the foot of a commercial
report was sufficient to bar the discharge. May a person obtain goods
by means of written lies about his property or debts--a substantial
crime-and still be entitled to a discharge in bankruptcy, provided only
that he does not lie in columns? Or limits his statement to the asser-
tion that he has $5,000 in the bank? There is difficulty in making the
form of a statement or the ground which it purports to cover, rather
than the purpose and substance of it, the controlling element.
The language of the act is "a statement in writing"--a plain ex-
pression, and one well known in the law in a somewhat analogous
Here’s what’s next.
This document can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Legislative Document.
The Federal Reporter with Key-Number Annotations, Volume 256: Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit Courts of Appeals and District Courts of the United States, May-July, 1919., legislative document, 1919; Saint Paul, Minnesota. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc38827/m1/70/: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.