Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Second Division
from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis Cause No.
1422-CR02303-01 Honorable Steven R. Ohmer
COLLEEN DOLAN, JUDGE.
Banks ("Defendant") appeals her conviction of one
count of forgery in violation of RSMo § 570.090
following a bench trial. Defendant claims the trial court erred
because there was insufficient evidence of Defendant's
intent to defraud and insufficient evidence of the
document's capability for effecting fraud. Because the
State presented sufficient evidence that Defendant intended
to commit forgery when she presented the document showing an
altered account balance to her employer, this Court affirms
Factual and Procedural Background
was employed by Jacqueline Phillips ("Phillips"),
the owner of Personal Care Home Health Services, Inc.
("Personal Care"), where she received payments
through direct deposit to an account managed by Paychex
payroll services. Phillips discovered Paychex had mistakenly
overpaid several employees, including Defendant, with double
deposits on April 22, 2014. Paychex was able to retrieve the
overpaid money from every employee's account except
Defendant's, which had insufficient funds. Phillips spoke
with Defendant, who told Phillips the money had been
"reversed" back into the company account. However,
Phillips was unable to verify Defendant's claim through
her examination of the company's records or through
Paychex's investigation. Paychex requested documentation
from Defendant showing her overpayment of $1, 115.03 had been
12, 2014, Defendant gave Phillips a document, which she
represented to be a bank statement of her account, showing a
reversal of the missing funds back to the company. Phillips
suspected it had been altered because the line with the
reversal was in a different font, and the numbers did not add
up. After this discovery, Phillips took steps to confirm her
suspicion. She checked Defendant's work computer, which
showed Defendant had recently accessed her account balance
thirty times. In the company trash, Phillips found copies of
Defendant's account balance that were cut up and
contained different amounts than the one Defendant provided
to Phillips, including one with a taped "reversal, $1,
115.42" over one of the lines and a cutout of a reversal
to Personal Care.
contacted the police and confronted Defendant about the
altered account balance, and Defendant said she did not know
what Phillips was talking about. Defendant was arrested by
Detective Ramiro Martinez ("Martinez"). Martinez
testified Defendant was read her Miranda rights and then
orally admitted altering the account balance. Martinez also
testified Defendant signed a written statement containing,
"…I tried to fool my employer by altering a bank
statement, " which was entered into evidence.
State charged Defendant with one count of forgery. After a
bench trial, the court found Defendant guilty and sentenced
her to fifteen years, then suspended the sentence and imposed
a probationary term of five years. Defendant now appeals.
Standard of Review
review the sufficiency of the evidence in a bench trial of a
criminal case using the same standard as a jury-tried case.
State v. Livingston-Rivard, 461 S.W.3d 463, 466 (Mo.
App. S.D. 2015); Rule 27.01. This Court determines
"whether the State presented sufficient evidence from
which a trier of fact could have reasonably found the
defendant guilty; and in so doing, we examine the evidence
and inferences in the light most favorable to the verdict,
ignoring all contrary evidence and inferences."
State v. Brown, 360 S.W.3d 919, 922 (Mo. App. W.D.
2012) (citing State v. Johnson, 244 S.W.3d 144, 152
(Mo. banc 2008)).
The State presented sufficient evidence to prove intent to
claims the State presented insufficient evidence to prove
Defendant had the intent to defraud, a requisite element for
forgery. Defendant argues other reasonable inferences could
be made for why she gave an altered account balance to ...