PEOPLE v. GUNTHER

Reset A A Font size: Print

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

The PEOPLE, etc., Respondent, v. Matthew GUNTHER, Appellant.

2017–02702

Decided: May 29, 2019

REINALDO E. RIVERA, J.P., JEFFREY A. COHEN, HECTOR D. LASALLE, FRANCESCA E. CONNOLLY, JJ. John Brian Macreery, Katonah, NY, for appellant. Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr., District Attorney, White Plains, N.Y. (William C. Milaccio, Raffaelina Gianfrancesco and Steven A. Bender of counsel), for respondent.

DECISION & ORDER

Appeal by the defendant from a judgment of the County Court, Westchester County (Anne E. Minihan, J.), rendered January 31, 2017, convicting him of grand larceny in the second degree, criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree (3 counts), forgery in the second degree (15 counts), criminal tax fraud in the fourth degree, and offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, upon a jury verdict, and imposing sentence.

ORDERED that the judgment is affirmed.

The defendant, who was employed as a bank teller, was charged with various crimes based on his alleged theft of money from a bank customer's account.  Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution (see People v. Contes, 60 N.Y.2d 620, 621, 467 N.Y.S.2d 349, 454 N.E.2d 932), we find that it was legally sufficient to establish beyond a reasonable doubt the defendant's guilt of grand larceny in the second degree, criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree (3 counts), forgery in the second degree (15 counts), criminal tax fraud in the fourth degree, and offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree.  Moreover, in fulfilling our responsibility to conduct an independent review of the weight of the evidence (see CPL 470.15[5];  People v. Danielson, 9 N.Y.3d 342, 348–349, 849 N.Y.S.2d 480, 880 N.E.2d 1), we nevertheless accord great deference to the jury's opportunity to view the witnesses, hear the testimony, and observe demeanor (see People v. Mateo, 2 N.Y.3d 383, 410, 779 N.Y.S.2d 399, 811 N.E.2d 1053).  Upon reviewing the record here, we are satisfied that the verdict of guilt was not against the weight of the evidence (see People v. Romero, 7 N.Y.3d 633, 826 N.Y.S.2d 163, 859 N.E.2d 902).

We agree with the County Court's determination to admit bank statements into evidence through the testimony of the bank records custodian.  That witness testified that he was familiar with the record-keeping practices of the bank, that the records were made in the regular course of the bank's business, that it was the regular course of the bank's business to make the records, and that the records were made contemporaneously with the transactions reflected in them (see CPLR 4518;  People v. Kennedy, 68 N.Y.2d 569, 579–580, 510 N.Y.S.2d 853, 503 N.E.2d 501;  People v. Bonhomme, 85 A.D.3d 939, 940, 925 N.Y.S.2d 157).

Further, computer reproductions of bank withdrawal slips were properly admitted into evidence.  The original withdrawal slips were “scanned to store a digital ‘image’ of the hard copy document” (People v. Kangas, 28 N.Y.3d 984, 985, 41 N.Y.S.3d 189, 63 N.E.3d 1133, quoting CPLR 4539[b] ).  A reproduction of such a digital image is “admissible in evidence as the original” where is it “authenticated by competent testimony or affidavit,” which must include information about “the manner or method by which tampering or degradation of the reproduction is prevented” (CPLR 4539[b];  see People v. Kangas, 28 N.Y.3d at 985, 41 N.Y.S.3d 189, 63 N.E.3d 1133).  Here, the reproductions of the withdrawal slips were properly authenticated by the testimony of a document review specialist, which included information about the prevention of tampering or degradation.

The defendant's remaining contentions are without merit.

RIVERA, J.P., COHEN, LASALLE and CONNOLLY, JJ., concur.

Copied to clipboard