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COMMONWEALTH v. MORIN (12/01/75)

decided: December 1, 1975.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
MORIN, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Allegheny County, Jan. T., 1974, No. 0585A, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Frank Morin.

COUNSEL

Leonard E. Sweeney, for appellant.

Louis R. Paulick and Robert L. Eberhardt, Assistant District Attorneys, John M. Tighe, First Assistant District Attorney, and John J. Hickton, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Watkins, P. J., Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, and Spaeth, JJ. Opinion by Van der Voort, J. Concurring Opinion by Spaeth, J.

Author: Van Der Voort

[ 237 Pa. Super. Page 536]

The appellant, Frank Morin, was charged with the crime of theft by deception. He was tried and convicted by a Judge sitting without a jury on September 24th and 25th, 1974. Post trial motions for a new trial and in arrest of judgment were filed, argued and refused. The appeal to this Court followed from the judgment of sentence of October 18, 1974.

The appellant having been adjudged guilty, we are bound in reviewing the facts of the case to "accept as true all of the evidence, direct or circumstantial, and all reasonable inferences arising from the evidence, upon which the trier of facts could properly have based the verdict." Commonwealth v. Fortune, 456 Pa. 365, 367, 318 A.2d 327 (1974).

In September of 1973, Marie C. Fenn, an eighty year old spinster, lived alone at 901 Brookline Boulevard in the City of Pittsburgh. Early in September of that year, appellant Frank Morin, aged 27, asked her if he could have a room, saying that he had no money and that he was hungry. She took him in and the two together began living in the house.

On September 17, 1973, Morin appeared at the Dollar Savings Bank in the City of Pittsburgh, where Miss Fenn had a savings account. He had with him a letter signed by Marie C. Fenn. He had her pass book and a Dollar Savings Bank signature card which was signed by appellant and Miss Fenn and which contained a request that a joint account in both their names (Marie Fenn or Frank Morin) be opened. The letter which Morin had read as follows:

Sept. 14, 1973

To whom it may concern.

This letter is to introduce you to Frank Morin who has been my loyal friend and companion. He handles all my business affairs and is the sole heir of my

[ 237 Pa. Super. Page 537]

    estate. Please show him every courtesy that you have extended to me in the past years.

Thank you,

     s/Marie C. Fenn

The bank changed the single savings account over to the joint names of Marie Fenn and Frank Morin. The following day, the appellant again appeared at the Dollar Savings Bank and presented another letter dated the same day as the first letter, viz: September 14, 1973. He presented it to the bank. This letter read as follows:

Sept. 14th, 1973

To whom it may concern.

Please transfer my account #505626 to a joint account in my name or Frank Morin. I want Frank to have an individual [sic] right to with-drawl. [sic]

Thank you,

     s/Marie C. Fenn

On that same day, September 18, 1973, the appellant withdrew $9,500.; then again on September 24th, he withdrew $9,800.; and again on September 25th, $6,000.; on September 26, $9,800.; and on September 27th, $7,500. His total withdrawals in the ten-day period were $42,600, leaving a balance in the account of $483.56.

Miss Fenn also maintained a savings account at Pittsburgh National Bank, whose records showed that between September 6th and September 25th, 1973, she withdrew $18,000, which was then deposited in her checking account at Pittsburgh National Bank. Between September 7th and October 1st, 1973, Frank Morin got five checks drawn on her Pittsburgh National Bank checking account and signed by Miss Fenn totaling $35,500, which checks he converted to his use. From September 7th to October 1st, 1973, Morin acquired control of $78,100 of Miss Fenn's money. Appellant ...


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