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Name: People v. Moore
Case #: B207616
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 08/11/2009

In cases involving fiscal crimes against a government entity, the four-year statue of limitations does not start to run until the victim learns of the facts of the crime, with “victim” defined as a public employee occupying a supervisorial position who has the responsibility to oversee the fiscal affairs of the governmental entity and has a legal duty to report a suspected crime to law enforcement authorities. Crystal Stairs, a nonprofit organization, coordinated payment of child care funds to caretakers for the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS). Appellant was prosecuted for fraudulent receipt of funds and perjury after he and the codefendant reported that appellant was caring for codefendant’s children although the children actually were cared for by a YMCA facility. The YMCA mailed a letter to Crystal Stairs showing that it had been caring for the children but the information was not reported to DPSS for approximately 18 days, with a complaint eventually being filed four years later, within the time DPSS learned of it, but not within the time Crystal Stairs learned of it. The appellate court upheld the trial court’s denial of appellant’s motion to dismiss based on the statute of limitations. Although the relevant statute, Penal Code section 803, does not specifically identify the term “victim,” criminal discovery statutes require a victim to be a direct victim of a crime. Here, Crystal Stairs did not own the money that was disbursed, was not directly injured, and had no legal duty to report a suspected crime.