Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

People v. Bensen

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Second District

August 4, 2017

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
BEVERLY BENSEN, Defendant-Appellant.

          Rehearing denied: September 7, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County, No. 13-CF-757; the Hon. Daniel B. Shanes, Judge, presiding.

          Michael J. Pelletier, Thomas A. Lilien, Jessica W. Arizo, and Yasemin F. Eken, of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Elgin, for appellant.

          Michael G. Nerheim, State's Attorney, of Waukegan (Patrick Delfino, Lawrence M. Bauer, and Victoria E. Jozef, of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for the People.

          JUSTICE ZENOFF delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Burke and Birkett concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          ZENOFF, JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 Defendant, Beverly Bensen, [1] appeals her conviction of aggravated identity theft (720 ILCS 5/16-30(b)(1) (West 2012)) following a jury trial in the circuit court of Lake County. Defendant was also convicted of one count of theft (720 ILCS 5/16-1(a)(1)(A) (West 2012)) and two counts of financial exploitation of an elderly person (720 ILCS 5/17-56(a) (West 2012)). Those convictions were merged with the aggravated-identity-theft conviction. We reverse the conviction of aggravated identity theft and remand with instructions to reinstate the convictions of theft and financial exploitation of an elderly person and to sentence defendant on those convictions.

         ¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 The victim, John Cuneo, Jr., was approximately 80 years old when he hired defendant as his personal secretary in September 2011. He later also made her his office manager. The nature of Cuneo's business was not made clear in the record but he owned the "Hawthorn Corporation, " which was headquartered in Grayslake, Illinois. In the winter, Cuneo lived in Florida.

         ¶ 4 One of defendant's duties was to pay Cuneo's corporate and personal bills. Defendant examined the bills and then made out the checks. She presented the checks for Cuneo's signature. Different checking accounts were used, depending upon the nature of each bill.

         ¶ 5 Cuneo furnished defendant with an American Express credit card that was to be used only for corporate business. The credit card account, ending in 91008, was in the names of both defendant and the corporation. The card that was issued to defendant bore a number that ended in 14611, and that number identified defendant as the cardholder.

         ¶ 6 In December 2012, following a telephone call from his bank, Cuneo retained a retired police detective, Michael Aiardo, to investigate defendant's possible misuse of the American Express card beginning the previous May. On March 21, 2013, Aiardo's investigation caused the Lake County State's Attorney to charge defendant in an information with one count of aggravated identity theft (count I), four counts of financial exploitation of an elderly person (counts II-V), and one count of theft (count VI). At trial, the parties and the judge agreed to submit only two verdict forms pertaining to the offense of financial exploitation of an elderly person, as two of the counts were duplicates.

         ¶ 7 Count I alleged that defendant knowingly "used personal identifying information of Cuneo, a person over the age of 60, being an account number, to fraudulently obtain goods." The matter was tried before a jury in September 2014. At trial, the State argued that defendant's unauthorized use of the American Express card with her name on it constituted the crime of aggravated identity theft.

         ¶ 8 The following evidence was adduced at trial. Aiardo had worked for Cuneo as a driver and personal assistant from April to October 2012. In several conversations during this period, defendant indicated to Aiardo that Cuneo signed checks without realizing how much money he had. Then, in December 2012, defendant told Aiardo that she charged ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.