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Freeman v. State

Supreme Court of Wyoming

August 23, 2019

LINDA MARLENE FREEMAN, Appellant (Defendant),
v.
THE STATE OF WYOMING, Appellee (Plaintiff).

          Appeal from the District Court of Laramie County The Honorable Catherine R. Rogers

          Representing Appellant:Office of the State Public Defender: Diane M. Lozano, State Public Defender; Kirk A. Morgan, Chief Appellate Counsel; David E. Westling, Senior Assistant Public Defender.

          Representing Appellee: Bridget Hill, Wyoming Attorney General; Jay Jerde, Special Assistant Attorney General; Katherine A. Adams [*] , Senior Assistant Attorney General; and Ewa C. Dawson, Senior Assistant Attorney General. Argument by Ms. Adams.

          Before FOX, KAUTZ, BOOMGAARDEN, GRAY, JJ, and SNYDER, DJ.

          SNYDER, DISTRICT JUDGE.

         [¶1] Linda M. Freeman appeals entry of a restitution order following an unconditional "no contest" plea to one count of exploitation of a vulnerable adult. She contends that the district court acted contrary to law in awarding restitution. We affirm.

         ISSUES

         [¶2] Ms. Freeman challenges the district court's award of restitution. She raises four separate issues:

I. Whether the district court erred in ordering Ms. Freeman to pay restitution for amounts transferred after L.L. Freeman's death.
II. Whether the district court's order of restitution to the Estate of L.L. Freeman is valid.
III. Whether the failure to submit a plan of restitution invalidates the restitution order.
IV. Whether there was sufficient evidence to support the district court's order of restitution of $532, 890.80.

         FACTS

         [¶3] Ms. Freeman pled no contest to one count of exploitation of a vulnerable adult resulting from the misappropriation of her father-in-law's property. In 2001, L.L. Freeman moved from Kansas City, Missouri, to Cheyenne, Wyoming, to be closer to his son. Mr. Freeman suffered from poor health, including dementia and other mental and physical health infirmities. Mr. Freeman passed away on August 7, 2007.

         [¶4] While in Cheyenne, Mr. Freeman resided at the V.A. Medical Center (V.A.). Ms. Freeman often visited Mr. Freeman at the V.A. and obtained access to his bank accounts. Due to her relationship with Mr. Freeman and access to his accounts, Ms. Freeman transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars for her benefit. Ms. Freeman used these funds to purchase and build property. In February 2003, Mr. Freeman opened two financial accounts listing Ms. Freeman as a use co-signature and pay-on-death beneficiary and one joint account with survivorship rights. Between 2004 and 2007, Ms. Freeman made multiple withdrawals and transfers of money from Mr. Freeman's accounts. After Mr. Freeman's death, she transferred an additional $91, 330.97 from his accounts.

         [¶5] Mr. Freeman's children and his Estate filed a civil action against Ms. Freeman in 2007. In 2010, a district court entered judgment against Ms. Freeman in the amount of $722, 870.56, plus punitive ...


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