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State v. Presutto-Saghafi

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Lorain

December 30, 2019

STATE OF OHIO Appellee
v.
JALEH PRESUTTO-SAGHAFI and PHILLIP PRESUTTO, JR. Appellants

          APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF LORAIN, OHIO CASE Nos. 16CR093913 16CR093914

          JOSEPH C. PATITUCE and MEGAN M. PATITUCE, Attorneys at Law, for Appellant.

          DENNIS P. WILL, Prosecuting Attorney, and BRIAN P. MURPHY, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          THOMAS A. TEODOSIO, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         {¶1} Appellants, Jaleh Presutto-Saghafi and Phillip Presutto Jr. ("the Presuttos"), appeal from the judgment of the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas. This Court affirms.

         I.

         {¶2} The Amherst School District ("the District") participates in a program to serve students with special needs, whereby students spend half the day in school and half the day receiving specialized services outside of school. The parents of these students pay third party service providers out of pocket, submit invoices to the District, and, in turn, receive reimbursement. The Presuttos have a child who was enrolled in the program from July of 2011 to June of 2014. Inconsistencies between the amounts paid by the Presuttos and the amounts reimbursed by the District led to an investigation and, ultimately, criminal charges being filed against the Presuttos.

         {¶3} The Presuttos pled guilty to unauthorized use of property and forgery, and the trial court ordered a pre-sentence investigation report ("PSI"). The court later held two restitution hearings. At sentencing, the court sentenced the Presuttos to two years of community control and ordered them to pay restitution in the amount of $36, 002.75 to the District along with court costs and supervision fees.

         {¶4} The Presuttos now appeal from the trial court's judgment, ordering them to pay restitution in the amount of $36, 002.75, and raise one assignment of error for this Court's review.

         II.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

         THE STATE FAILED TO PROVE THE RESTITUTION FIGURE BY A PREPONDERANCE OF THE EVIDENCE.

         {¶5} In their sole assignment of error, the Presuttos argue that the State failed to prove the restitution amount by a preponderance of the evidence and, thus, the trial court erred and abused its discretion in ordering a restitution amount that bore no reasonable relationship to the actual losses suffered. We disagree.

         {¶6} This Court has historically reviewed restitution orders under an abuse of discretion standard. See, e.g., State v. Esterle, 9th Dist. Medina No. 06CA0003-M, 2007-Ohio-1350, ¶ 5; State v. Myers, 9th Dist. Wayne No. 06CA0003, 2006-Ohio-5958, ¶ 12. "The term 'abuse of discretion' connotes more than an error of law or judgment; it implies that the court's attitude is unreasonable, arbitrary or unconscionable." Blakemore v. Blakemore,5 Ohio St.3d 217, 219 (1983). When applying an abuse of discretion standard, a reviewing ...


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