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People v. Bonner

OPINION FILED DECEMBER 2, 1977.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

BEVERLY BONNER, A/K/A BEVERLY BURKS, A/K/A BEVERLY UPSHAW, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. LAWRENCE I. GENESEN, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE LORENZ DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Following a bench trial, defendant was convicted of public aid fraud in violation of section 11-21 of the Public Aid Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 23, par. 11-21) and was sentenced to 90 days in the House of Corrections. On appeal she contends (1) she cannot be convicted of failing to notify the Illinois Department of Public Aid (Department) that she was employed, because it employed her; (2) a fatal variance exists between the charge in the complaint and the proof adduced at trial, and (3) the court abused its discretion in denying her probation.

The complaint stated that defendant:

"On or about February 15, 1974, to on or about February 24, 1975, at Chicago, Illinois, committed the offense of Public Aid Fraud in that she failed to notify the Illinois Department of Public Aid and the Cook County Department of Public Aid of a change in her status as required by Sections 11-18 and 11-19 of Chapter 23, Ill. Rev. Stat., for the purpose of preventing the denial, cancellation or suspension of her public aid grant, to wit she failed to notify the Illinois Department of Public Aid that she had become employed in violation of Chapter 23, Section 11-21. Illinois Revised Statutes."

The parties stipulated that the complaint would serve as the bill of particulars. Thereafter, at a trial held on August 13, 1976, the following pertinent evidence was adduced.

For the State

Corbell Turner Johnson

She is a case auditor for the Department. When defendant originally applied for public aid on May 29, 1967, she conducted the interview. During this interview, she informed defendant of her obligation to report all changes in her circumstances.

Janice Patten and Terri Messindens

They are caseworkers for the Department. While assigned to the Jane Adams District Office, they conducted redeterminations of defendant's eligibility for public aid on October 1, 1974, and March 28, 1975, respectively. The interviews took place in defendant's home. During these visits, they asked defendant a number of questions regarding changes in her eligibility. They recorded defendant's responses on Department forms, which the State introduced into evidence. These forms indicate that on both occasions defendant stated that she had not received social security, money from employment, or lived with anyone other than her two children during the preceding three months. In addition, Terri Messindens testified that defendant failed to inform her that she was married.

Joyce Irwin

For the past two years she has been a financial clerk for the Austin District Office of the Department. She has known defendant for four to five years. Defendant was also employed at the Austin Office as a full time financial clerk. Prior to that they worked at "The Nursing Home Service" and the "Treasury." She "stood up" at defendant's wedding to Mr. Upshaw in January or February of 1975.

Larry Adkinson

From November 1974 until January 1976 he was a caseworker for the Department. His caseload consisted only of employees of the Department, who because of their low ...


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