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People v. Rahbari

California Court of Appeals, First District, Fifth Division

December 10, 2014

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
MANUCHEHR RAHBARI, Defendant and Appellant.

[CERTIFIED FOR PARTIAL PUBLICATION][*]

Superior Court of San Mateo County, No. SC077313A, Hon. Craig Parsons, Judge.

Page 186

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 187

COUNSEL

Amos Lawrence, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General, Dane R. Gillette, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Gerald A. Engler, Assistant Attorney General, Eric D. Share and Luke Fadem, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

OPINION

SIMONS, J.

Appellant Manuchehr Rahbari was convicted of passing checks with insufficient funds. He was sentenced, pursuant to Penal Code section 1170, subdivision (h) (section 1170(h)), [1] to a term in county jail followed by mandatory supervision. The trial court also ordered appellant to pay restitution to certain victims. In the published portion of our opinion, we conclude that the scope of a victim restitution order issued in connection with a sentence pursuant to section 1170(h) is limited to those losses caused by the crime or crimes of which the defendant was convicted. In the unpublished portion of our opinion, we address the remainder of appellant’s claims.

BACKGROUND

In March 1985, appellant was charged by complaint with 26 counts of passing checks with insufficient funds (§ 476a, subd. (a))[2] and one count of grand theft (§ 487). Appellant was not arrested on these charges until 2012.

At a June 2013 bench trial, the evidence was as follows. In 1980 or 1981, appellant and Andy Saberi jointly owned gasoline stations. For one of their stations, appellant and Saberi held a joint bank account at Security Pacific National Bank (the SPNB account). Appellant was responsible for the day to day management of this station and had access to the SPNB account checkbook approximately 99 percent of the time. The average balance in the SPNB account was $20, 000-$30, 000.

Page 188

For two of appellant and Saberi’s other stations, Roger Allen held a nominal one percent interest. Because the gasoline supplier would only accept payments from Allen in connection with these stations, appellant and Allen held a joint business account at Bank of America (the BOA account). Allen signed checks to the supplier but otherwise had no involvement in the stations or with the BOA account.

In March 1984, 26 checks from the SPNB account-dated on four consecutive days, signed by appellant, and made out to “cash”-were deposited into the BOA account. The checks totaled approximately $235, 000. No single check exceeded $10, 000; at the time, banks were required to report checks over $10, 000 to the government. Appellant admitted the endorsement signatures on the back of the checks “look[] like mine” but denied endorsing the checks.

John Roth, a Bank of America investigator in the 1980s who was familiar with Bank of America’s business practices at that time, testified that when a check was deposited into a Bank of America account, Bank of America sent the check to the drawee bank. While the check was being processed by the drawee bank, Bank of America might credit the account in the amount of the check, depending on the customer’s creditworthiness. If the drawee bank returned the check to Bank of America instead of paying it, Bank of America ...


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