STATE v. JOHN PAPANDREA, SC 18616
Judicial District of New Haven
Criminal; Whether the State Presented Sufficient Evidence of the Defendant's Intent to Commit Larceny. The state charged the defendant with nine counts of larceny in the first degree. It claimed that the defendant, who is a corporate financial officer, an accountant and an employee of Homecare Management Strategies, Inc. (Homecare), took corporate funds from Homecare in order to purchase artwork for himself, without right, authority or permission to do so. The defendant did not contest any of the basic facts introduced by the state but asserted, as his defense, that he had a right to the funds because Homecare owed a debt of more than $5 million to White Oak Systems, Inc. (White Oak), a corporation in which he was the majority shareholder, without having paid anything for the shares. The defendant therefore claimed that he lacked the requisite wrongful intent to be convicted of larceny in the first degree. After a jury trial, the defendant was convicted of all counts. He then appealed to the Appellate Court, arguing, among other things, that the evidence adduced at trial was insufficient to support his convictions. In affirming the trial court's judgment, the Appellate Court (120 Conn. App. 224), concluded that there was sufficient evidence from which the jury could find that the defendant possessed the requisite intent to support his convictions. It stated that on the basis of the evidence, the jury could have reasonably found that the defendant had the intent to take money that he knew did not belong to him. In particular, it stated that the jury could have inferred that the defendant knew that he could not issue Homecare's checks for personal use, even though Homecare allegedly owed a debt to White Oak. The court further indicated that the defendant never requested or received permission from the owner of Homecare to collect any debts allegedly owed to him. Moreover, it stated that the jury could have also inferred that the defendant, as chief financial officer for both Homecare and White Oak, must have known that a debt to White Oak is different from a debt to him personally. Finally, it stated that it was reasonable for the jury to find that the defendant knew that the funds he used to purchase the artwork were not sums due to him as an employee of Homecare or as a majority shareholder of White Oak. In this appeal, the Supreme Court will determine whether the Appellate Court properly concluded that the state presented sufficient evidence of the defendant's intent to commit larceny.