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Criminal Jury Instructions

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9.1-13  Larceny by Defrauding a Public Community -- 53a-119 (6) (C) and 53a-122 through 53a-123

Revised to December 1, 2007

Note:  The degree of the larceny is determined by the value of the property stolen.  See 53a-122 (first degree: exceeds $2,000) and 53a-123 (second degree: does not exceed $2,000).

The defendant is charged [in count __] with larceny by defrauding a public community in the (first / second) degree.  The statute defining this offense reads in pertinent part as follows: 

a person is guilty of defrauding a public community who, as an officer or agent of any public community, with intent to prejudice it, appropriates its property to the use of any person or draws any order upon its treasury or presents or aids in procuring or allowing1 any fraudulent claim against such community.

For you to find the defendant guilty of this charge, the state must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

Element 1 - Officer or agent
The first element is that the defendant was an (officer / agent) of a public community.  A "public community" means a governmental entity as distinguished from a private one.  A city, town, or the state or federal government, or any agency or subdivision of these governmental bodies, would constitute "a public community" under the statute.  In this case the alleged public community is <insert name of public community>.

<Insert appropriate definition:>

  • An "agent" is one who acts in place of another who has given (him/her) such authority.  The word includes anyone employed to assist a town in the performance of any of its public duties.  A state employee is considered an agent. 

  • An "officer" of a public community is a person holding an office that has its source in the sovereign authority speaking through the constitution or legislation and who by virtue of (his/her) incumbency becomes invested with some portion of the sovereign power which (he/she) is to exercise for the benefit of the public.2 

<Describe the alleged status of the defendant as an agent or officer.>

Element 2 - Obtained property3
The second element is that the defendant <insert as appropriate:>

  • appropriated the property of the public community to the use of any person.  To "appropriate" means either to exercise control over the property, or to aid a third person to exercise control over it, permanently, or for so long a period or under such circumstances as to acquire the major portion of its economic value or benefit, or to dispose of the property for the benefit of oneself or a third person.

  • drew an order upon its treasury.  To "draw an order" means to write a check.

  • (presented / aided in procuring / allowed) any fraudulent claim against the public community.  A fraudulent claim is one that is false and made for the purpose of deceiving.  If the defendant, knowing the claim was fraudulent, made the false statements claimed, and if these statements helped in bringing about the payment of the claim, then the defendant would have thus aided in the procurement of a fraudulent claim.

Element 3 - Intent
The third element is that the defendant specifically intended to prejudice the community.4  In other words, (he/she) must have intended that the community be harmed or suffer some loss in the transaction.  Poor judgment in carrying out (his/her) duties is not enough.  The state must prove that at the time of (his/her) actions, (he/she) fully realized that what (he/she) was doing was harmful or detrimental to the community.

Element 4 - Value of property
The fourth element is that the value of the claim <insert as appropriate:>

First degree:  exceeded $2,000.
Second degree:  was less than $2,000.

<See Larceny, Instruction 9.1-1, for a full explanation of this element.>


In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant 1) was an (officer / agent) of a public community, 2) (he/she) <insert specific allegations of fraudulent act>, 3) (he/she) intended to prejudice the public community, and 4) the value of the (property / order / claim) (exceeded / did not exceed) $2,000.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of larceny by defrauding a public community, then you shall find the defendant guilty.  On the other hand, if you unanimously find that the state has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt any of the elements, you shall then find the defendant not guilty.

1 The last part of this statute in the book of General Statutes printed by the Legislative Commissioner's Office reads "aids in procuring to be allowed any fraudulent claim."  It probably should read as paraphrased here.  The court may want to discuss this with the attorneys.

2 State ex rel. Neal v. Brethauer, 83 Conn. 143, 146 (1910).

3 General Statutes 53a-119 (6) provides that an order against the treasury of a public community or a claim for benefits from a public community shall be deemed to be property.

4 Actual prejudice to the agency is not required.  State v. Waterman, 7 Conn. App. 326, 338, cert. denied, 200 Conn. 807 (1986) ("the gravamen of the offense . . . is the presentation of, or the aiding in the procuring or allowance of, a fraudulent claim").



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