Appeal from the Order of the Superior Court entered June 16, 2006 at No. 1359 WDA 2005, affirming the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County entered June 30, 2005 at No. CP-02-CR-0013670-2003.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mr. Justice Eakin
CASTILLE, C.J., SAYLOR, EAKIN, BAER, TODD, McCAFFERY, ORIE MELVIN, JJ.
OPINION ANNOUNCING THE JUDGMENT OF THE COURT
In January, 2001, appellant's car was in a collision.*fn1 His insurer totaled the aging New Yorker, then made a just division of the value of the insurance claim, sending $6,289 to the lender; the balance of $135, to appellant they made tender.
And thus the matter terminated, or so one might have thought, but that was not to be, when Goodson's later schemes were caught.
Appellant was unhappy with his meager share, we guess - comparing the two payouts, his disbursement was much less - so six months later, in July, Mr. Goodson would appear at a branch of First National Bank, and there he made it clear that he'd a check made out to him, which he innocently presented to open a new bank account - "from State Farm," he represented.
The check was numbered familiarly, same as the prior one for $135 that he'd been given when this saga'd just begun. And it was for $6,289, a unique and memorable amount.
The bank obligingly took the check and opened a new account. "Welcome our new customer!" a greeting that we'd bet the bank would come to think of with a measure of regret.
Never thinking that appellant's check might have a minor flaw (like perhaps being a forgery), it allowed him to withdraw several thousand dollars and, days later, a few thousand more; he'd taken over $5,000 before the bank would learn the score. There was no evidence appellant seemed the least bit nervous, having picked a branch with such unmatched customer service.
Of course the crime soon came to light, as agents of State Farm refused to pay the check he'd forged, which forestalled further harm: "It's not from us, there is no claim, the check we cannot honor!"
And appellant's scheme was thus undone - he knew he was a goner. When braced, he paid the money back, a mitigating solution, but despite this act, the Commonwealth commenced its prosecution.
Convicted of the forgery, insurance fraud,*fn2 and theft, he admits the first and last, but denies the charge that's left.
He claims the sentence for insurance fraud is most certainly amiss - he says "I may be guilty, but ...