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People v. Varellas





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County; the Hon. Lawrence D. Inglis, Judge, presiding.


Rehearing denied December 31, 1985.

After a bench trial defendant, William Varellas, was convicted of forgery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 17-3(a)(2)) and theft by deception (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 16-1(b)(1)) and was sentenced to an extended term of 10 years' imprisonment. He appeals, contending (1) the information was defective for failing to adequately state these offenses; (2) the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction; (3) his cross-examination of a witness was improperly limited; and (4) it was error to deny defendant's motion to suppress a statement he made to the police. We affirm.

The State presented evidence in trial that on February 2, 1984, defendant appeared in the First National Bank of Lincolnshire in early afternoon and presented a check drawn on that bank for $47,500 for cashing. The bank teller testified defendant offered an Illinois driver's license for identification which was in the name of Anthony Monterusso, but had on it defendant's photograph; the license had been issued by the Secretary of State on January 31, 1984. The check was dated February 1, 1984, made payable to Anthony Monterusso, and the signature of Sanford Gross was appended as maker, drawing the check on the account of Heritage Brick Corporation. The bank teller testified that Sanford Gross' signature as maker was genuine, that he was an authorized signatory on that account and there were sufficient funds in the account to cover the check. Defendant signed the name "Anthony J. Monterusso" on the back of the check in the teller's presence and, at his request, was given $16,000 in cash and a cashier's check for $31,500 made payable to Anthony Monterusso.

On the next day a bank official contacted the police concerning the check defendant had cashed and police officer Donald Roulo testified he learned on investigation that the driver's license presented by defendant bore a fictitious address and that Sanford Gross had been reported missing to the Chicago police department on February 1, 1984.

Subsequently, on February 4, defendant called the bank saying he was coming in later that day to cash a cashier's check for $31,500. Defendant did appear and presented for cashing the cashier's check on the back of which the name "Anthony J. Monterusso" had been signed. Defendant again identified himself as Anthony Monterusso by use of the Illinois driver's license. The police had been alerted when defendant arrived at the bank and Officer Roulo came to the bank, arrested defendant and took him to the Lincolnshire police station.

Officer Roulo testified that when he left the bank building with defendant the officer asked him if he had a car there, defendant replying that he had left his yellow Corvette in the far corner of the bank parking lot with the engine running. The officer looked, but could not locate the car, and defendant commented that it must have been stolen.

At the police station, defendant was advised of his Miranda rights and gave an oral statement to police which was introduced at trial. In it, defendant admitted his real name was William Varellas, and not Anthony Monterusso. Defendant stated that "he cashes checks using false names and identification as part of a juice loan collection type of deal. He gets 10% of the checks he cashes in exchange for cashing the checks." Defendant told the officers he received the $47,500 check in this case from a Paul Richardson and had no idea of Richardson's present location. Defendant also stated he did not know the maker of the check, Sanford Gross, or his present location. Defendant admitted he had cashed the check at the Lincolnshire Bank and received $16,000 in cash and a cashier's check for $31,500. He stated that he and Paul Richardson had flown to Las Vegas where they were unsuccessful in cashing the cashier's check so returned to Lincolnshire for that purpose. Defendant stated he found the identification cards for Anthony Monterusso, which were found in his possession when arrested, in Michigan. At Richardson's request, defendant said he used that identification to obtain the Illinois driver's license. Richardson had given defendant the check in question here, and defendant works for him across the country cashing checks for 10% of the proceeds.

Anthony Monterusso of Grand Rapids, Michigan, testified he lost his wallet in September 1983, and identified as his the cards found on defendant. Monterusso did not know of defendant, Sanford Gross or Heritage Brick Corporation, and did not sign the checks at issue. Sanford Gross did not owe him money and he had no expectation of receiving money from Gross.

No witness was called to offer evidence relating to the Heritage Brick Corporation, and defendant rested without offering any evidence. The trial court found defendant guilty as charged, and he appeals.


We consider first whether the information is void for failure to charge the offenses of forgery and theft by deception. Defendant argues the forgery counts failed to allege in detail how the checks were capable of defrauding, whom defendant intended to defraud and who was defrauded, together with the losses sustained. As to the theft by deception counts, defendant contends they were defective for failure to allege how any deception occurred by his merely representing himself to be Anthony Monterusso. Defendant's arguments are essentially conclusionary and are not supported by directly applicable case law.

In count I it was alleged that defendant committed the offense of forgery on February 2, 1984,

"In that defendant, with the intent to defraud, knowingly delivered to the First National Bank of Lincolnshire, a document apparently capable of defrauding another, in that it purported to have been made by another, Anthony J. Monterusso, said document being a check number 102 of Anthony J. Monterusso, drawn on the First National Bank of Lincolnshire, dated February 1, 1984, payable to Anthony J. Monterusso in the amount of $47,500.00 and signed as maker Sanford Gross knowing the document to have been thus made."

In count II essentially the same allegations were made charging defendant with the delivery to the bank on February 4, 1984, of a document capable of defrauding another and describing it as a cashier's check number 30741 drawn on the Lincolnshire bank dated February 2, 1984, payable to Anthony J. Monterusso in the amount of $31,500 and signed, as maker, Ms. Brassfield. These counts of the information also each alleged that the offense of ...

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