PEOPLE v. ZUGA

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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York.

The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent, v. William ZUGA, Defendant-Appellant.

Decided: November 29, 2005

FRIEDMAN, J.P., SULLIVAN, NARDELLI, WILLIAMS, SWEENY, JJ. Laura R. Johnson, The Legal Aid Society, New York (Steven J. Miraglia of counsel), for appellant. William Zuga, appellant pro se. Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General, New York (Nisha M. Desai of counsel), for respondent.

Judgment, Supreme Court, New York County (Bruce Allen, J.), rendered January 9, 2002, convicting defendant, after a jury trial, of attempted grand larceny in the first degree, and sentencing him to a conditional discharge, unanimously affirmed.

 The verdict was based on legally sufficient evidence and was not against the weight of the evidence.   There is no basis upon which to disturb the jury's determinations concerning credibility.   Defendant's larcenous intent could be readily inferred from the evidence (see People v. Meadows, 199 N.Y. 1, 7, 92 N.E. 128 [1910] ).   The evidence warranted the conclusion that defendant attempted to commit larceny by false pretenses, in that he knowingly made false claims as to the existence of unpublicized “capital enhancement programs” that guaranteed immediate, astronomical, risk-free investment returns.

 The court's Sandoval ruling balanced the appropriate factors and was a proper exercise of discretion (see People v. Hayes, 97 N.Y.2d 203, 738 N.Y.S.2d 663, 764 N.E.2d 963 [2002];  People v. Walker, 83 N.Y.2d 455, 458-459, 611 N.Y.S.2d 118, 633 N.E.2d 472 [1994];  People v. Pavao, 59 N.Y.2d 282, 292, 464 N.Y.S.2d 458, 451 N.E.2d 216 [1983] ).   The court properly permitted the prosecution to elicit defendant's other fraudulent conduct, which was extremely probative of his credibility.   To the extent that the prosecutor may have exceeded the scope of the court's Sandoval ruling, we find any error to be harmless.

We have considered and rejected defendant's remaining claims, including those contained in his pro se supplemental brief.