Posts tagged with "steal"

Defendant Properly Convicted of Accessory to Criminal Impersonation Where She Asked Friend to Assume Her Identity at Court

In a recent criminal law matter, the Appellate Court of Connecticut upheld a defendant’s conviction for accessory to criminal impersonation, citing sufficient evidence for all of the essential elements.

This case arose from an incident that occurred on September 4, 2003. The defendant was caught attempting to steal a telephone and its components from Costco in Brookfield, and provided a false name upon her arrest. She was a bail bondsperson at Danbury courthouse and wished to conceal the arrest from her coworkers, so she enlisted the aid of a close friend to meet with defense counsel in her stead. The defendant arranged a meeting and provided the friend the misdemeanor summons as well as $300 to retain the attorney.

At the meeting with defense counsel, the friend identified herself as the defendant using the false name. She stated she was arrested for shoplifting, and provided her upcoming court date. Defense counsel filed an appearance in court and the case was continued, but while meeting with an assistant state’s attorney, defense counsel discovered the true identities of the defendant and her friend. Subsequently, the defendant was arrested for, charged with, and convicted of numerous crimes, including accessory to criminal impersonation. On appeal, the defendant argued, in part, that the friend providing defense counsel a false name “was insufficient evidence that she was impersonating a real person.”

Under Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-130(a), a person commits criminal impersonation if he or she “impersonates another and does an act in such assumed character with intent to obtain a benefit or to injure or defraud another.” Accessory to this crime requires that the State show that the defendant, acting under the above requisite intent, “solicited, requested, commanded, importuned, or intentionally aided another person… to engage in criminal impersonation.”

In this case, the Appellate Court agreed that there would be insufficient evidence of criminal impersonation if the friend only provided defense counsel with a false name. However, the friend went further than this: she provided information to defense counsel “such that she specifically identified herself as the defendant in this case, at the defendant’s request.” The friend was impersonating the defendant, a real person, and use of a false name was immaterial under the relevant statute.

The defendant additionally argued that she did not have the requisite intent to defraud, but the Appellate Court disagreed. The relevant intent may be to secure a benefit, or to injure or defraud another person – any one of these three aims satisfies the statute. In this case, the defendant would intended to benefit by concealing the arrest from her coworkers, and the possibility of avoiding prosecution altogether. Therefore, with respect to this aspect of the defendant’s appeal, the Court affirmed judgment.

When faced with a charge of larceny, burglary, conspiracy, or accessory, an individual is best served by consulting with an experienced criminal law practitioner. Should you have any questions regarding criminal defense, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya in the firm’s Westport office in Fairfield County at 203-221-3100 or at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

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Perpetrator Not “Beamed There By Martians” – Court Upholds Defendant’s Accessory Conviction

In a recent criminal law matter, the Appellate Court of Connecticut rejected a defendant’s claim that the State presented insufficient evidence that she participated in a plot to steal nearly a quarter of a million dollars from her employer.

This case involved the February 22, 2005 theft of approximately $248,000 in cash from a bank located in New Britain. The interior of the location has little public access, and employees must first be buzzed into or use their key to access a “mantrap” before proceeding through another door to the employee area. This section of the store contains a bathroom and the safe room, and the only exit is to proceed back through the mantrap.

The defendant was a store manager at the bank and was working alone for five and a half hours prior to closing. An hour before leaving the store, she received a phone call from a former district manager (former manager), who had been fired following a previous unsolved robbery at the bank years earlier. The defendant counted the money in the safe, after which she closed down the store and set the alarm. Approximately thirty minutes later, motion sensors and alarms were rapidly triggered in reverse order from the safe room to the front door. The bank owners called the defendant, who was in the vicinity of the bank, and asked her to allow police into the building. When police arrived, they found no evidence of forced entry, but the money was gone and the defendant did not look or act surprised.

Telephone records revealed that the phone call received by the defendant prior to closing the bank was made from a cell phone in New Britain. She received two more calls from numbers belonging to the former manager: the first from a landline in Manhattan only minutes after the incident; the second twenty minutes thereafter once again from the cell phone, this time placed from the New Haven area.

The defendant was subsequently arrested for accessory to larceny in the first degree, conspiracy to commit larceny in the first degree, and accessory to burglary in the third degree, in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-8, 53a-122(a)(2), 53a-48, and 53a-103. The State’s theory of the case was that the defendant knowingly permitted someone to stay behind in the employee area prior to her departure. The defendant argued that one of the employees working earlier that day “could have let someone into the bathroom unbeknownst to [her].” The prosecutor countered that this was unreasonable: “The idea of somebody sitting in this bathroom for five and one-half hours, waiting for business to close, is as ludicrous as saying that they were beamed there by Martians.” The defendant was convicted on all counts and appealed, arguing that the State presented insufficient evidence identifying her as a participant, and therefore the jury convicted her “on the basis of mere speculation.”

When a jury considers the facts presented in a case, they are permitted to make reasonable and rational inferences stemming from those facts. “When we infer, we derive a conclusion from proven facts because such considerations as experience, or history, or science have demonstrated that there is a likely correlation between those facts and the conclusion.” The more strained the correlation, the less reasonable the inference will be. In this case, the Appellate Court admitted that the evidence presented was scant, but still sufficient to support the convictions. The jury could reasonably infer that the defendant was knowingly involved in the scheme to steal the money from the bank, permitting someone to remain behind after she set the alarm and left for the night. Therefore, the Appellate Court affirmed the judgment.

When faced with a charge of larceny, burglary, conspiracy, or accessory, an individual is best served by consulting with an experienced criminal law practitioner. Should you have any questions regarding criminal defense, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya in the firm’s Westport office in Fairfield County at 203-221-3100 or at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

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