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People v. Stark

California Court of Appeal
26 Cal. App. 4th 1179 (1994)


Rodney Stark (defendant), the owner of a construction company, entered into a contract with two doctors for the construction of a medical facility in 1989. The doctors obtained a construction loan that would make periodic payments to Stark to pay for materials and services required to complete the construction. After Stark received three draws from the construction loan, totaling approximately $245,000, the doctors discovered that Stark’s subcontractors were not receiving proper payment. Stark, who was in financial difficulty, admitted that he had used funds from the construction loan to support other, unrelated projects. Stark had diverted approximately $46,000, but claimed that he always intended to pay the money back into the doctors’ project. Stark was convicted for willful diversion of funds under California Penal Code (Penal Code) section 484b. Stark appealed on the ground that the jury had been wrongfully instructed that willful diversion was a general-intent crime.

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