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State of Ohio v. David R. Rhodehamel

November 1, 2011

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
DAVID R. RHODEHAMEL, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEALS from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. (C.P.C. No. 10CR-06-3697) (C.P.C. No. 09CR-11-6828)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: French, J.

Cite as State v. Rhodehamel,

(REGULAR CALENDAR)

DECISION

{¶1} Defendant-appellant, David R. Rhodehamel ("appellant"), appeals the judgments of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, which convicted him of six counts of money laundering, two counts of theft, and one count of forgery. For the following reasons, we affirm.

{¶2} Appellant was indicted on crimes he committed while working for the property management company of Wears, Kahn, and McMenamy, which later became Coldwell Banker. (We will refer to the company as Wears, Kahn, and McMenamy here.) Specifically, he was indicted on the following: (1) one count of theft of $225,000 from Mattlin Holdings LLC, which was a client of Wears, Kahn, and McMenamy; (2) theft of $50,000 from Mattlin Holdings LLC; (3) theft, forgery, and securing writings by deception concerning a First City Bank mortgage he obtained on Mattlin Holdings LLC's property; (4) four counts of tampering with records he submitted to First City Bank; and (5) three counts of money laundering in a scheme pertaining to the purchase of a condominium for himself and his family.

{¶3} Appellant pleaded not guilty to the charges, and a jury trial ensued. At trial, Steve Kahn testified that appellant started working for Wears, Kahn, and McMenamy in the 1990's and that one of his duties was to manage the commercial real estate owned by Mattlin Holdings LLC.

{¶4} Robert McMenamy, also of Wears, Kahn, and McMenamy, testified as follows. Around 2000, appellant was running all facets of the property management company, and, among his responsibilities, he supervised bookkeepers who generated monthly statements for clients. The statements documented expenses and profits for property the company managed. Appellant was also in charge of a large bank account holding funds for the company's clients. The account was set up in 2002 at appellant's suggestion. Prior to that time, each client had a separate bank account. Although appellant was in charge of that account, he was not authorized to use client funds for his personal use.

{¶5} Donna Connolly, a bookkeeper at Wears, Kahn, and McMenamy, testified about the company's computerized bookkeeping system. She said that although appellant was not "technologically savvy," he "probably could have figured" out how the system worked if he "looked through" it. (Tr. Vol. IV, 145.) She also testified that, around 2002, Jerry Durham became the property manager for all of the company's clients and that appellant became "the overseer of the property management area." (Tr. Vol. IV, 79.) As an "overseer," appellant would be consulted on any issues that came up regarding property management.

{¶6} First City Bank Vice President David Dygert testified as follows about the mortgage appellant obtained on Mattlin Holdings LLC's property. On July 20, 2004, appellant sent Dygert an e-mail indicating that he " 'acquired the entire interest in an LLC which owns several pieces of real estate' " and that he wanted to obtain a mortgage on that property. (Tr. Vol. IV, 175.) Appellant specified in another e-mail that he was referring to Mattlin Holdings LLC, and he indicated that he acquired that company in 2002. On July 30, 2004, Dygert sent appellant an e-mail requesting information on Mattlin Holdings LLC, and, on August 12, 2004, Dygert sent an e-mail asking appellant to send " 'a hundred percent proof of your hundred percent ownership.' " (Tr. Vol. IV, 188.)

{¶7} Next, Dygert identified documents in appellant's mortgage application file. The file contained a financial statement indicating that appellant acquired Mattlin Holdings LLC in 2002. And the file contained a copy of a purchase agreement for Mattlin Holdings LLC. The agreement was dated May 23, 2002, and listed the seller as Betty Mattlin and the buyer as appellant through one of his business ventures, CSR Tremont LLC.

{¶8} Dygert testified that he and Charles Cecil, another First City Bank Vice President, approved appellant's mortgage on September 23, 2004. Dygert said that appellant's mortgage would not have been approved if it were known that fraudulent documents were submitted during the application process.

{¶9} On cross-examination, Dygert testified that Exhibit P appeared to be a letter he faxed to appellant, but it was not dated or signed. In the letter, Dygert said, "[n]eed to know which form deal is taking - if going in direction of deal from a few years ago, you will need to sign the pile of agreements and complete deal (pay purchase price, etc. - whatever deal you cut with lady)." (Exhibit P.) Dygert also said, "[i]f going in direction of 'option' at death per your new discussions, you will need Mattlin lady * * * to sign a resolution authorizing our loan or make sure the agreement has stuff in it that says you can take out loan and mortgage (I did not see anything like that in your e mail version)." (Exhibit P.)

{¶10} Next, Cecil testified about the mortgage appellant obtained on Mattlin Holdings LLC's property. Cecil stated that, although he does not specifically recall what documents he reviewed while deciding whether to approve appellant's mortgage, he believed that he considered the 2002 purchase agreement for Mattlin Holdings LLC because it was important to confirm that appellant owned the property being mortgaged. He also testified as follows.

{¶11} Around the end of 2008 or the beginning of 2009, appellant started making late payments on the First City Bank mortgage. At that same time, Cecil learned from Betty Mattlin that she did not sell her property to appellant. In March or April 2009, Cecil and First City Bank President Doug Simson met with appellant about Betty Mattlin's claim. They showed appellant the 2002 purchase agreement they had in the mortgage application file, and appellant said that the "document was not representative of the deal that he had with Mrs. Mattlin." (Tr. Vol. V, 81.) Cecil and Simson asked appellant about his financial statement, which indicated that he acquired Mattlin Holdings LLC in 2002, and appellant admitted that the statement contained his signature. The meeting ended, and appellant subsequently showed Cecil and Simson a purchase agreement dated October 5, 2004. The agreement listed the seller as Betty Mattlin and the buyer as appellant through CSR Tremont LLC. It noted that appellant would acquire property owned by Mattlin Holdings LLC upon Betty Mattlin's death and that, in the meantime, he had the right to mortgage the property.

{¶12} Cecil confirmed that appellant's mortgage would not have been approved if it were known that fraudulent documents were submitted during the application process. In fact, Cecil noted that First City Bank has filed a civil claim for fraud against appellant based on the documentation he submitted as part of his application for the mortgage on Mattlin Holdings LLC's property.

{¶13} Betty Mattlin, who was 92 years old at the time of trial, verified that appellant managed her commercial real estate while he was employed at Wears, Kahn, and McMenamy. She also testified that she did not agree to sell Mattlin Holdings LLC to appellant in 2002 and that her signature as a seller on the 2002 purchase agreement was forged.

{¶14} Richard Mattlin testified that the 2004 purchase agreement of Mattlin Holdings LLC appears to contain the signature of his mother, Betty Mattlin. He also testified that he became aware of a discrepancy in a distribution Wears, Kahn, and McMenamy made to Betty Mattlin in 2005. He said that a statement from the property management company indicated that Betty Mattlin was supposed to get a distribution of $250,000 in September 2005, but Betty Mattlin's personal banking statements only showed a distribution to her in the amount of $200,000. The prosecutor asked Richard Mattlin where he obtained the property management company's statement, which was identified as Exhibit 39, and he said that he could not remember.

{ΒΆ15} The prosecution recalled Richard Mattlin a few days later, over appellant's objection. This time, Richard Mattlin testified that since his last testimony, he compared Exhibit 39 with records Mattlin Holdings LLC received in the ordinary course of business, ...


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