Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common
Pleas Case No. CR-17-614697-A
Michael C. O'Malley, Cuyahoga County Prosecuting
Attorney, and Matthew E. Meyer and Jennifer M. Meyer,
Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys, for appellee.
Chuparkoff, pro se.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
LASTER MAYS, JUDGE.
1} Defendant-appellant Mark Andrew Chuparkoff
("Chuparkoff) was formerly a licensed attorney in the
state of Ohio who was based in Franklin County,
Ohio. Chuparkoff was indicted on February 28,
2017 for multiple felonies including grand theft, tampering
with records, and forgery. Money laundering prohibitions were
attached to the charges.
2}The activities took place from December 23, 2015, through
May 1, 2016, and included the theft of $75, 000 of a medical
malpractice settlement that Chuparkoff wrongfully retained.
Chuparkoff represented the Lee family, immigrants to the
United States who did not speak English, and resided in
Butler County, Ohio where the malpractice occurred. The case
was filed in Butler County against the attending physician
and the urgent care facility involved with the misdiagnosis
of Mr. Lee's hip fracture.
3} The case against the physician was settled with the
Lees' authority. The case against the urgent care
facility proceeded to trial where the Lees prevailed.
According to the state, due to the time and expense involved
with the urgent care facility's appeal, the Lees
requested to drop the case. The state argues that Chuparkoff
proceeded without the Lees' authority or knowledge and
settled the case for $75, 000 that Chuparkoff retained for
his own use. Chuparkoff counters that the Lee family
abandoned their part of the suit but allowed him to continue
the case to recover his one-third interest of the $289, 000
4} Chuparkoff picked up the settlement check from a law firm
in Independence, Ohio. The state charged that he forged the
check endorsements and filed a fraudulent satisfaction of
judgment in Butler County constituting tampering with
records. According to the state, Chuparkoff spent the entire
sum and most was expended for gambling at the Horseshoe
Casino in Cleveland.
5} Counsel was appointed for Chuparkoff in June 2017. Trial
was scheduled for June 28, 2017. Chuparkoff requested time to
retain new counsel but asserts that he was only given five
working days to do so due to the Fourth of July holiday
weekend. The trial court granted a continuance and set a
pretrial date of July 10, 2017. New counsel entered an
appearance on that date.
6} On September 11, 2017, upon the advice of new counsel,
Chuparkoff entered a guilty plea to grand theft, attempted
tampering with records, and forgery. The parties agreed that
the three charges constituted a continuing course of conduct
under R.C. 2953.31. The state advised that it would oppose
any application for expungement until Chuparkoff paid
restitution in the amount of $50, 000. Chuparkoff was advised
of the possibility of three years postrelease control at the
parole board's discretion.
7} On September 29, 2017, Chuparkoff was sentenced to five
years of community control on each count with six months of
local incarceration with advisement of postrelease control
and restitution. On December 28, 2017, Chuparkoff filed a
motion for early release under R.C. 2929.20 that was denied
by the trial court on January 3, 2018.
8} On August 30, 2018, after Chuparkoff was released from
incarceration, he filed a motion to vacate the guilty plea
for lack of venue and jurisdiction, and argued that the
ineffective assistance of counsel led to his plea. Chuparkoff
also argued that the Lees had given him authority to pursue
the lawsuit to recover his one-third interest and that merely
picking up the settlement check in Cuyahoga County was
insufficient to vest jurisdiction.
9} The state argued that Chuparkoff did not meet the
requirements for a Crim.R. 32.1 plea withdrawal because he
failed to demonstrate that he was subject to a manifest
injustice, he waived the venue argument and he did not
demonstrate that counsel was ineffective. The trial court
denied the motion on September 11, 2018, and held that the
arguments offered in the state's brief in opposition were
10} Appellant appeals the trial court's denial of his
motion to withdraw the guilty plea.
Assignments of Error
11} Chuparkoff offers two errors for review:
I. The Court of Common Pleas erred as a matter of law when it
refused to give appellant adequate time to obtain counsel to
represent him in the underlying criminal matter.
II. The Court of Common Pleas erred as a matter of law when
it denied appellant's motion to vacate his guilty plea
based on lack of venue/jurisdiction and ineffective
assistance of counsel.
12} We address the errors out of order for ease of analysis.
In addition, there was no transcript filed as part of the
record in this case. Without the filing of a transcript,
"[w]e presume that the trial court considered all the
evidence and arguments raised." Miranda v. Saratoga
Diagnostics, 2012-Ohio-2633, 972 N.E.2d 145, ¶ 26
(8th Dist.). In light of the presumption of regularity in the
proceedings, we accept the factual findings of the trial
court as true and limit our review to the legal conclusions
of the trial court. Bailey v. Bailey, 8th Dist.
Cuyahoga No. 98173, 2012-Ohio-5073, ¶ 8, citing
Snider v. Ohio Dept. of Rehab. & Corr., 10th
Dist. Franklin No. 11AP-965, 2012-Ohio-1665, ¶ 8.
Withdrawal of Plea
13} Crim.R. 32.1 governs the withdrawal of guilty pleas:
A motion to withdraw a plea of guilty or no contest may be
made only before sentence is imposed; but to correct manifest
injustice the court after sentence may set aside the judgment
of conviction and permit the defendant to withdraw his or her
Id. See also State v. Zaslov, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No.
95470, 2011-Ohio-2786, ...