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Name: People v. Aldana
Case #: G040320
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 06/13/2012

A public officer may not be convicted of knowingly keeping false accounts if the discrepancies in records were not materially false. Matney, a county hospital administrator, and Aldana, a county contract doctor who also performed administrative services, were both convicted of violating Penal Code section 424, subdivision (a)(3), which prohibits those charged with the control over the expenditure of public moneys from keeping false accounts or making false entries into accounts. Matney filled out and signed Aldana’s time sheets, which he signed and gave to her as blank forms. When completed, they did not accurately reflect the specific hours he worked. Aldana’s conviction was reversed for insufficient evidence because he had no control over the disbursement of public funds and because he did not make any entry on his timesheet. Matney’s conviction was reversed because the felony includes a materiality element. The false entries did not result in any loss or misappropriation of county funds or result in unjust enrichment. There was no evidence that Aldana worked less than the hours recorded. In fact, Aldana worked more hours than recorded, so the technically inaccurate time sheets were not materially false.