APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Sutter County, Christopher R. Chandler, Judge. Affirmed. (Super. Ct. Nos. CRF06-0083, CRF06-0419, CRF06-1321).
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Nicholson , J.
CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION
We hold that a bank is a direct victim, entitled to victim restitution, when a person forges checks drawn on the bank.
With several cases pending against defendant Sheila Bartell, the parties agreed to a plea bargain whereby defendant pleaded guilty to second degree burglary and two counts of possession for sale of methamphetamine in exchange for the dismissal of other charges with a Harvey waiver. (See People v. Harvey (1979) 25 Cal.3d 754 (Harvey).)
The People also agreed not to file charges arising from three cases still under investigation, and the parties agreed defendant could be ordered to reimburse the victims in those cases. In one of those cases, Rita E. reported her checkbook had been stolen and she later reported three forged checks had cleared. The cleared checks were for $150, $140 and $300, for a total of $590. Those forgeries were linked to defendant and Victoria Gonzalez.
The probation report stated that Wells Fargo Bank "covered the cost" of these three forged checks, and recommended restitution to Wells Fargo Bank in the amount of $590, plus an administrative surcharge. The trial court granted probation, and among other terms stated: "In the Harvey waivered case of 05-1844, she's ordered to pay victim restitution in the amount of $590, plus a $50 surcharge . . . and less any amounts paid by the co-defendant, Victoria Gonzales," "with the victim being Wells Fargo Bank." Defendant did not object to this probation term.
Defendant admitted violating probation in exchange for a three-year term for all cases. At sentencing, the trial court ordered direct restitution to Wells Fargo Bank for $590. Again, defendant did not object.
Defendant timely filed a notice of appeal.
Because defendant claims the restitution component of her sentence is not authorized, she has not forfeited her claim by failing to lodge it in the trial court. (People v. Sexton (1995) 33 Cal.App.4th 64, 69-70, disapproved on another point, People v. Birkett (1999) 21 Cal.4th 226, 247, fn. 20.)
One portion of Proposition 8, the Victim's Bill of Rights, passed by the People in the exercise of their reserved initiative powers in 1982, states "that all persons who suffer losses as a result of criminal activity shall have the right to restitution from the persons convicted of the crimes for losses they suffer." (Cal. Const., art. I, § 28(b); see People v. Saint-Amans (2005) 131 Cal.App.4th 1076, 1081.)
Penal Code section 1202.4 provides that "[i]t is the intent of the Legislature that a victim of crime who incurs any economic loss as a result of the commission of a crime shall receive restitution directly from any defendant convicted of that crime" (subd. (a)(1)), and in part defines "'victim'" to include "[a]ny . . . commercial entity when that entity is a direct victim of a crime" (subd. (k)(2)). This statute, implementing part of Proposition 8, must be construed broadly. (People v. Saint-Amans, supra, 131 Cal.App.4th at p. 1084.)
Defendant does not contest the trial court's power to order victim restitution based on the forged checks, but contends Wells Fargo Bank is not a direct victim because "Wells Fargo was merely an indemnitor of the account holder ...