Submitted May 8, 2019
from the Court of Appeals for Franklin County, No. 17AP-296,
O'Brien, Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney, and
Barbara A. Farnbacher, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for
R. Venters, Franklin County Public Defender, and Robert D.
Essex, Assistant Public Defender, for appellee.
1} A statute authorizes a trial court to order an
offender to pay restitution to a "victim" who
suffers an economic loss. See R.C. 2929.18(A)(1).
Under this law, is a bank that cashes a forged check and then
recredits the depositor's account a victim to which the
forger can be required to pay restitution? We say yes. The
court of appeals held otherwise, so we reverse its judgment.
A check-cashing scheme and a restitution order
2} Zachary Allen cashed seven forged checks at
branches of three different banks. He pleaded guilty to seven
counts of forgery, and the trial court ordered Allen to pay
restitution to the banks in the amount of the forged checks.
In the process the trial court rejected Allen's argument
that the banks were not victims and hence not possible
beneficiaries of a restitution order under R.C. 2929.18.
Allen appealed, and the Tenth District Court of Appeals
reversed the trial court's judgment and vacated the
restitution order. The court of appeals reasoned that the
banks were not "victims" for purposes of R.C.
2929.18 but instead were third parties who had reimbursed the
true victims-the account holders.
R.C. 2929.18(A)(1) authorizes restitution to a
victim that suffered an economic
3} We must determine the proper construction of R.C.
2929.18(A)(1). R.C. 2929.18(A) allows a trial court to impose
various "financial sanctions" against a defendant
who committed a felony, including "[r]estitution by the
offender to the victim." R.C. 2929.18(A)(1) states:
Financial sanctions that may be imposed pursuant to this
section include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) Restitution by the offender to the victim of the
offender's crime or any survivor of the victim, in an
amount based on the victim's economic loss.
the statute authorized the trial court to order Allen to pay
restitution to the bank if the bank (1) was a victim and (2)
suffered an economic loss.