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Roger
Roger, Attorney
Category: Legal
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If two people conspire in the U.S. to commit fraud in a foreign

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If two people conspire in the U.S. to commit fraud in a foreign country, do the U.S. courts have jurisdiction? Would it be state or federal court?

Roger :

Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a litigation attorney. Thanks for your question. I'll be glad to assist.

Roger :

The people should be subject to the jurisdiction of the state/United States if the conspiring occurred in within the state/United States.

Roger :

Carrying out the acts in another country would subject the people to charges in that country for their actions there. But, conspiracy is a separate charge and could be prosecuted wherever the conspiring occurred.

Roger :

Whether or not jurisdiction is federal or state would depend on the subject matter of the conspiracy.

Roger :

Generally, if the action is against the United States, it would be a federal crime: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/371

Roger :

However, every state has criminal conspiracy statutes that could be prosecuted at the state level. I see that you're in Texas. Here is a link to its statute: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PE/htm/PE.15.htm

Roger :

It is also possible that different states or even countries could have jurisdiction to prosecute this. It just depends on the facts of the case.

Customer:

Is there a civil claim that could be made? Again, this is in Texas

Roger :

Yes, there is a civil remedy as well.

Roger :

Here's a good link to read about this under Texas law: http://www.texas-opinions.com/law-civil-conspiracy.html

Customer:

So, if the underlying action is unlawful in the foreign country, does there need to be an underlying local action as well? In other words, the fraud was committed abroad, but for a civil conspiracy, does there need to be evidence that the conspirators broke a texas law? Or is the foreign breach of law enough?

Roger :

Yes, it would have to be proven that Texas law was broken to sue in Texas.

Roger :

Otherwise, you'd have to sue under the law of the country where the unlawful actions occurred.

Customer:

So could the suit be brought in Texas without the underlying tort?

Customer:

just conspiracy

Roger :

You can't use the law of a foreign country (or even another state) as a basis for a suit in Texas. You'd have to use the law of that jurisdiction.

Customer:

But would both torts need to be filed: fraud and conspiracy, or could just conspiracy be filed.

Roger and 5 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Because liability for conspiracy depends on participation in some underlying tort, conspiracy is considered a derivative tort. Thus, in order to prevail on a civil conspiracy claim, the plaintiff must show the defendant was liable for some underlying tort.

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