Court Reverses Grand Larceny Indictment
In this proceeding, an intermediate order denying a motion to dismiss an indictment will have a review from the Supreme Court.
A New York Criminal Lawyer said it appears from evidence presented that a bank, a trust company and another corporation executed a statement of trust receipt financing. At the grand jury trial, the three officers of the bank were called as witnesses. The bank paid the automobile company the total sum of $21,430.59 for eight automobiles. An employee of the bank checked the floor plan of the corporation and found out that four from eight of the cars were missing. Another check was made five days later and the remaining four cars were also missing from the floor. Consequently, a letter was delivered to the corporation by the bank in which they demand payment of all amounts due under trust receipts or immediate possession of all new and used cars on which the bank held trust receipts. A similar notice was served and in the interval checks had been received by the bank drawn by the corporate dealer in payment of the amounts due on two of the cars. The checks were not paid because of insufficient funds. The bank received neither the automobiles nor the moneys due.
It was upon the evidence that an indictment was returned accusing the president of the corporation, individually, of the crime of grand larceny in the first degree. The president of the corporation, which was the trustee, secreted, withheld and appropriated to his own use, and that of a person other than the true owner of the automobiles.
In the proceeding, the prosecutor chose to submit to the grand jury an alleged violation against the president of the corporation as an individual for his acts done as a trustee while serving as the president of the corporation. The district attorney stated that the case involved the operation of a trust receipt and the question as to whether or not the failure of a trustee under a trust receipt to deliver either the goods or the money involved constitutes grand larceny. The prosecutor further instructed the body that it would be for them to determine whether or not the corporation was in effect a trustee and if so the corporation or its officer violated the duties of a trustee.
Based on records, there was no proof that there was any trustee except the corporation. The first witness specifically testified that the bank's dealings were with the corporation. After the evidence was closed the theory was again pronounced to the grand jury by the prosecutor that if they found the corporation to be a trustee and further found that the president failed to pay over the funds received from the sales of the car then the jury would be justified in finding that the president had violated the law.
The court opined that the evidence was insufficient and the motion should have been granted. Further, as the indictment proceeded to trial it is not inappropriate to examine the proof presented by the city and in connection therewith point out the insufficiency of the evidence presented to both grand and trial juries. In addition, the proof upon the trial and the submission of the case to the trial jury were all based upon the conclusory finding or assumption of fact that the president of the company was a trustee.
A Manhattan Criminal Lawyer said the court further states that there was no proof that the grand or trial jury justifies such an assumption or conclusion. A corporate officer by fiat of a grand jury or trial court may not be made a trustee when the documentary evidence speaks authoritatively to the contrary. Moreover, there was no proof that the president of the corporation caused the cars to be missing or failed to account for the proceeds.
As a result, the court reversed upon the law the order to deny the motion to dismiss the indictment. The court also granted the motion appropriately.
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