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09/02/87 the People of the State of v. Robert Bokuniewicz

September 2, 1987

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

ROBERT BOKUNIEWICZ, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

THE ELEMENTS OF THE OFFENSE OF FORGERY WERE SET OUT IN PEOPLE

v.

HOCKADAY (1982), 93 ILL. 2D 279, 282, 443 N.E.2D 566, AS FOLLOWS:



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, SECOND DISTRICT

513 N.E.2d 138, 160 Ill. App. 3d 270, 111 Ill. Dec. 892 1987.IL.1280

Appeal from the Circuit Court of McHenry County; the Hon. Michael J. Sullivan, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE DUNN delivered the opinion of the court. HOPF and INGLIS, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE DUNN

Defendant, Robert Bokuniewicz, was convicted of forgery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 17 -- 3(a)(2)). He appeals, contending that he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt because the State failed to prove several elements of the offense. He also contends that his five-year sentence was an abuse of discretion. We affirm.

The facts are not in dispute. Defendant was formerly a practicing attorney. In the spring of 1983, he was hired by Rose Harnett to handle the sale of her home in Bellwood, Illinois. After the house had been sold, Harnett gave defendant the money realized from the sale, as well as money from her savings account, to invest for her. In June 1985, Harnett's daughter, Ellen Mangano, noticed that her mother's resources were being depleted. She questioned defendant about this, but did not receive a satisfactory answer, although defendant did give her a check for $5,600, representing a portion of her mother's funds. She thereafter hired attorney Edward Dean to do what he could to recoup her mother's money.

Dean arranged a meeting with defendant on June 22, 1985, at Dean's office. Dean demanded that defendant either turn over Harnett's funds or provide an accounting for them. Defendant told Dean that he had all of Harnett's funds but was having trouble liquidating them. Defendant gave Dean a cashier's check drawn on the Bank of Wheaton for $176,000. Defendant told Dean not to cash the check, stating that he had obtained it only to show Harnett that he had her money and could produce it as soon as he could liquidate her assets. The check contained a restrictive endorsement that it could only be deposited in a particular account and was not endorsed by defendant.

It was later discovered that the check had originally been made out to defendant for $176, not $176,000. Defendant was later arrested and charged with forgery. He was convicted following a bench trial on February 10, 1986.

At the sentencing hearing on April 7, 1986, the court heard testimony from several former clients of defendant that defendant had misappropriated substantial sums of their money to his own use. Defendant testified that his conduct resulted from his inability to find work as an attorney while his family and friends enjoyed considerable success. He professed remorse and a desire to provide restitution to those he had harmed. The court sentenced the defendant to the maximum term of five years' imprisonment.

On appeal, defendant first contends that the evidence was insufficient to prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of forgery. Specifically, he posits that the State failed to prove that he either altered the check or knew that it was altered, that he possessed the requisite intent to defraud, or that the altered check was capable of defrauding anyone.

"(1) a document apparently capable of defrauding another; (2) a making or altering of such document by one person in such manner that it purports to have been made by another; (3) knowledge by defendant that it has been thus made; (4) knowing delivery of the document; and (5) intent to defraud."

Defendant concedes that the cashier's check was altered by someone, but claims that the State failed to prove that it was defendant who altered it, or that defendant passed the check knowing it had been altered.

The drawer of the check was Barbara Bibbiano. Defendant postulates that it is at least as likely that Bibbiano altered the check as defendant. ...


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