Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Second Division
from the Circuit Court of St. Francois County Honorable
Sandra Martinez Judge.
Philip M. Hess, P.J., Robert G. Dowd, Jr., J. and Mary K.
Christina Halter ("Halter") appeals judgment
entered upon her conviction of financial exploitation of a
disabled person and Medicaid fraud. Halter raises six (6) points
on appeal. Points I, II, and III raise allegations of
instructional error and Points V and VI raise allegations of
unauthorized civil penalties or restitution to the State. On
these points, no jurisprudential purpose would be served by
written opinion; accordingly, these points have been disposed
of by summary order under Rule 30.25.
Point IV, Halter argues the trial court erred in sentencing
her to concurrent terms of imprisonment for thirty years on
Counts III and IV for financial exploitation of a disabled
person and exceeded its authority in also ordering her to pay
restitution to the Victim.
Point IV, we agree with Halter the trial court erred in
entering an unauthorized disposition sentencing her to
imprisonment and restitution, and remand for resentencing.
The judgment is affirmed in all other respects under Rule
30.25, with a separate written memorandum accompanying this
order only for the use of the parties setting forth the
reasons for the decision on the Points I, II, III, V, and VI.
relevant times from 2011 to 2013, Halter owned and managed
Park Hills Manor LLC, a residential care facility caring for
mentally disabled individuals. One such resident individual,
J.B., was a veteran diagnosed with schizoaffective and
bipolar disorders. On September 18, 2012, Halter agreed to be
appointed fiduciary of J.B.'s Veterans Administration
funds. Halter affirmed she would, among other things:
maintain a client trust account; deposit the individual's
funds in a separate account; not commingle funds; disburse
rent or mortgage money on a monthly basis; and disburse only
for just expenses, including pocket money.
November 16, 2012, J.B. approached a volunteer worker for
Park Hills Manor and indicated he was to receive a large sum,
$209, 000, from the V.A. and wanted to pay for his rent in
advance out of fear of becoming homeless. Around this time,
Halter deposited the $209, 000 to an operating account for
her business rather than to a client trust account. She did
not report the transaction. On November 19, 2012 and again on
December 5, 2012, Halter signed contracts with J.B. for
non-refundable year-long rental contracts totaling $115, 000.
She did not report the transactions. Halter purchased three
vehicles with the V.A. funds - one jointly titled to Halter
and J.B., and the other two solely titled to Halter and her
husband. By January 15, 2013, every dollar of the $209, 000
fund had been spent.
two transactions for the pre-payment of rent, the State
charged Halter with two counts of financial exploitation of a
disabled person, under section 570.145 RSMo, class A
felonies. The jury found Halter guilty on these charges and
recommended terms of imprisonment for thirty (30) years for
each of the financial exploitation charges.
sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered her thirty year
sentences on the financial exploitation convictions to run
concurrently without possibility of probation. The State
asked the trial court to order $115, 000 in restitution to
J.B., the victim. Halter's trial counsel did not
specifically object to imposition of the term of imprisonment
and the restitution but called the felonies
"probationable offenses" with "no provision
and Standard of Review
argues the trial court was constrained by then-applicable
statutes and plainly erred when it exceeded its authority
sentencing her to concurrent sentences of imprisonment for
thirty years on two counts of financial exploitation of a
disabled person, without possibility of probation, and also
ordering her to pay $115, 000 in restitution. The State opposes
review procedurally by this Court on what it describes as
invited error. The State also contends Section 557.011.5 RSMo
permits a court to make any appropriate order exercising the
authority conferred by law to decree, as part of a sentence,