Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Mahoning
Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas of Mahoning County,
Ohio Case No. 2014 CR 585
Plaintiff-Appellee: Atty. Paul J. Gains Mahoning County
Prosecutor Atty. Ralph M. Rivera Assistant Prosecuting
Defendant-Appellant: Atty. Jennifer J. Ciccone The Ciccone
Law Firm, LLC
Cheryl L. Waite Hon. Gene Donofrio Hon. Carol Ann Robb
Appellant Annette Seeds appeals an April 7, 2016 Mahoning
County Common Pleas Court decision finding her guilty of
grand theft. Appellant argues that her convictions are
supported by insufficient evidence and are against the
manifest weight of the evidence. Appellant also argues that
she received ineffective assistance of counsel. For the
reasons provided, Appellant's arguments are without merit
and the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.
and Procedural History
From 2010 to 2013, Appellant served in various leadership
roles within the Jackson Milton Parent Teacher Association
("PTA"), including president, treasurer, and
secretary. The theft charges at issue stem from
Appellant's unauthorized use of PTA funds from January 1,
2011 until October 22, 2013. During this time, Appellant
served as both treasurer and president of the PTA.
At trial, the state produced bank statements from the
PTA's Huntington Bank account showing that Appellant used
PTA funds to purchase approximately $320 in fuel, used
$261.32 to pay for meals at various restaurants, had $3, 050
in cash back withdrawals and $6, 017.50 in ATM withdrawals.
According to the state, these purchases were not authorized
by the PTA board of directors ("the board").
According to two former PTA treasurers who served during
Appellant's presidency, Appellant refused to provide them
with bank statements and financial records, and refused to
add them as authorized users on the bank account. At some
point, Elaine Akers, a former PTA treasurer, obtained partial
bank records from Appellant. Akers became concerned about the
account and contacted the Ohio PTA for guidance. Based on the
Ohio PTA's advice, Akers formed a new PTA with newly
elected officers. The newly elected officers included Sheila
Factor, Cari Delgado, Jennifer Koontz, and Brandy Hinkle.
Sometime thereafter, Huntington Bank gave Factor access to
the PTA's online account and she obtained complete bank
records. After determining that a large number of
transactions were unauthorized, she and the other board
members spoke to the Jackson Milton School Resource Officer,
who contacted Detective Pat Mondora of the Mahoning County
Sheriffs Office. Det. Mondora began an investigation and
referred the case to Leo Fernandez, a forensic accountant
with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations
("BCI"). Fernandez confirmed that Appellant had
made thousands of dollars worth of apparently unauthorized
On June 19, 2014, Appellant was indicted on one count of
grand theft, a felony of the fourth degree in violation of
R.C. 2913.02(A)(2), (B)(1)(2). At trial, the state alleged
that Appellant stole $9, 648.89 from the PTA. While the bank
records revealed other suspicious transactions, the charges
pertained only to the fuel purchases, restaurant visits, and
ATM and cash back withdrawals.
On January 29, 2016, a jury found Appellant guilty of the
sole count of grand theft. On April 7, 2016, the trial court
sentenced Appellant to seventeen months of incarceration, all
of which was suspended. The trial court also sentenced her to
three years of community control and imposed several
conditions. The court additionally ordered her to pay
restitution to the PTA in the amount of $9, 648.89. The trial
court granted Appellant a stay as to her sentence. This
timely appeal followed.
OF ERROR NO. 1
CONVICTION VIOLATED THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT TO THE U.S.
CONSTITUTION AND ARTICLE I, SECTION 16 OF THE OHIO
CONSTITUTION AS THE CONVICTION WAS AGAINST THE MANIFEST
WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE AND NOT SUPPORTED BY SUFFICIENT
of the Evidence
The elements for grant theft are found within R.C.
2913.02(A)(2): "[n]o person, with purpose to deprive the
owner of property or services, shall knowingly obtain or
exert control over either the property or services * * * (2)
Beyond the scope of the express or ...