Sunday, November 17, 2013

State v. Christy Pontiac-GMC, Inc. case brief

State v. Christy Pontiac-GMC, Inc. case brief summary
354 N.W.2d 17 (1984)

Defendant sought review of its conviction in the District Court, Ramsey County (Minnesota) of two counts of theft by swindle and two counts of aggravated forgery.

Defendant was a corporation that operated a car dealership. The manufacturer of certain automobiles offered a rebate as an incentive for selling certain vehicles during a specified period of time. It was alleged that an agent for defendant forged the signatures of certain customers and falsified the dates of car purchases in order to submit applications to the manufacturer for rebates, which were credited to defendant.

Defendant was convicted of theft by swindle and aggravated forgery, pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 609352(2) (1982) and Minn. Stat. § 609.625(1) (1982), and sought review, arguing that a corporation lacked the intent required to be convicted of the crimes.


  • On appeal, the court held that a corporation could be liable for the crimes and possess the requisite intent where the actions of an agent for the corporation were undertaken for the benefit of the corporation or in accordance with corporate policy. 
  • The court found that there was sufficient evidence that the corporation's agent had undertaken the acts for the benefits of defendant to sustain the trial court's conviction of defendant.

The court, holding that a corporation could be convicted of theft and forgery, affirmed defendant's conviction of theft by swindle and aggravated forgery.

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