No. 326 April Term, 1979, Appeal from Judgment of Sentence dated March 16, 1979, Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Trial Division, Allegheny County at CC 7801833A.
Charles M. Schwartz, Pittsburgh, for appellant.
Robert L. Eberhardt, Deputy District Attorney, Pittsburgh, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Spaeth, Johnson and Popovich, JJ.
[ 294 Pa. Super. Page 59]
Appellant was convicted by a jury on eighteen counts of theft by deception,*fn1 eighteen counts of receiving stolen property,*fn2 eighteen counts of securing execution of documents by deception*fn3 and one count of criminal conspiracy.*fn4 She was sentenced on March 16, 1979 to a period of thirty months probation.
The issues raised by Appellant are (1) whether the lower court erred in refusing to dismiss the information filed against Appellant because of a violation of the statute of limitations, 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 108 and (2) whether the counts of receiving stolen property should have been dismissed due to the statute of limitations on the basis that fraud, as alleged in the information, is not a material element of the crime as required by 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 108(c)(1).
An information, containing a total of seventy-six counts and including seven different criminal statutes, was filed against Appellant on April 11, 1978 pursuant to her involvement in fraudulently obtaining funds from the federal Manpower (now Jobpower) program during 1974 and 1975. The investigation of purported "ghosts" on the Manpower payroll began in June of 1976.
Two cancelled Manpower paychecks, made payable to one Mildred Louise and bearing a second endorsement of Iris J. Communale were discovered in March of 1977. The checks were dated June 6, and June 11, 1975, respectively. The 1974 and 1975 personnel files of Mildred Louise were also received by the district attorney's office in March of 1977.
[ 294 Pa. Super. Page 60]
Verification of the information contained in the applications located in the files and the information found on the two checks produced the following information by April 4, 1977: that no Mildred Louise resided at the address listed on the applications, although a Mildred Hawkins was discovered to reside there; that the social security number listed on the applications was assigned to Mildred Hawkins and that she had been and was employed full-time at a V.A. hospital; that the two cancelled checks appeared to have been issued prior to the commencement of the 1975 summer program and that certain discrepancies existed between the information found on the 1974 and 1975 applications of Mildred Louise, including birthdate, schooling, number of family members and the signatures. On April 5, 1977, a check was made of the V.A. hospital employment records to determine Mildred Hawkins' job status during 1974 and 1975 and it was also determined from the Manpower personnel files that Mildred Louise's alleged Manpower supervisor may not have existed.
On April 11, 1977, information received from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles on Mildred Hawkins revealed that her birthdate did not agree with the birthdates listed on the applications of Mildred Louise. On April 12, 1977, after several unsuccessful attempts to locate Mildred Hawkins, she was interviewed by an investigator from the district attorney's office. Appellant stated that she recognized the two 1975 cancelled checks and had received the proceeds therefrom. She also stated that she had been employed by the Manpower program in 1974 and 1975. Interviews with Manpower employees, to confirm whether either Mildred Louise or Mildred Hawkins had ever worked in the Manpower programs began at the end of June, 1977. The cancelled paychecks for 1974, issued to Mildred Louise, were received by the district attorney's office from the bank on June 30, 1977. The remaining cancelled checks for 1975 issued to Mildred Louise were received from the bank in July and August of 1977. It was not conclusively determined until early 1978, when the interviews with Manpower employees
[ 294 Pa. Super. Page 61]
had been completed, that neither Mildred Louise nor Mildred Hawkins had worked in any Manpower program. Some of these employees were called to testify before a special investigating grand jury in February of 1978.
The general statute of limitations applicable to the charges upon which Appellant was convicted is two years. 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 108(b)(2). An exception to this two year period is ...