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COMMONWEALTH v. SCHAD (06/22/71)

decided: June 22, 1971.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
SCHAD, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Allegheny County, Jan. T., 1969, No. 439, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Robert P. Schad.

COUNSEL

Allen N. Brunwasser, for appellant.

J. Kent Culley, Assistant District Attorney, with him Carol Mary Los, Assistant District Attorney, and Robert W. Duggan, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Wright, P. J., Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, and Cercone, JJ. Opinion by Hoffman, J.

Author: Hoffman

[ 218 Pa. Super. Page 360]

Appellant was convicted of fraudulently converting $1,100 in handmoney given to him by a Mr. and Mrs. LeJeune. In 1967 the LeJeunes sought to purchase a house and lot from appellant, a building contractor. A written agreement was signed and the purchasers paid appellant $1,100 in handmoney.*fn1 This money was to be applied to the purchase and erection of a house on a certain lot.

After this agreement was signed there was considerable delay culminating in a change in lots. A second agreement was prepared, but it may never have been signed. Much confusion as to the status of the various agreements between the parties remains. In any event, the LeJeunes finally hired an attorney and

[ 218 Pa. Super. Page 361]

    repeated attempts were made to effect a closing. Appellant, however, was not able to produce good title to the lot in question. Finally, the LeJeunes' attorney sent appellant a letter stating that the negotiations were at an end and demanding the return of the $1,100. Appellant refused this demand. He was subsequently indicted for fraudulent conversion.*fn2 After trial by jury he was convicted and this appeal followed judgment of sentence.

The only issue which we need consider at this time is whether the trial court correctly instructed the jury as to all the elements of the crime of fraudulent conversion, and especially as to whether appellant had the requisite fraudulent intent. The court charged the jury, in pertinent part as follows:

"This case is a criminal case. I want to impress upon you this isn't a civil case. This is an action where the Commonwealth is the prosecuting party and the Commonwealth says that the defendant has committed a crime of fraudulent conversion, in other words that he by use of fraud converted to his own use the property of Mr. and Mrs. LeJeune or particularly, as the indictment states, the property of John R. LeJeune and because of this is guilty of a crime.

"This is the only dispute which you have before you at this time[:] Did the defendant hold for the LeJeunes the sum of $1100 and did he hold it with the intent and understanding that the $1100 would be used and applied for the purpose of purchase of lot 146 and building a house thereon and turning it over to the LeJeunes in accordance ...


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