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State v. Riggins

Illinois Supreme Court
132 N.E.2d 519 (1956)


Facts

Riggins (defendant) was the owner and operator of a collection agency that employed dozens of people and was responsible for nearly 500 individual and firm accounts. One account belonged to Dorothy Tarrant, who owned a business. Riggins and Tarrant had an oral agreement that Riggins would be responsible for collecting Tarrant’s delinquent accounts in exchange for a varying percentage of the total amount. It was also agreed that Riggins did not need to account for the amounts collected until a bill was paid in full, at which time Riggins would send a check to Tarrant. There was a conflict as to whether Riggins was to give a check to Tarrant for the whole amount collected and then receive his commission or whether he was authorized to deduct his commission and remit the remainder to Tarrant. Riggins and Tarrant abided by their agreement for nearly two years. During that time, Tarrant exercised no control over Riggins as to the time or manner of collecting on the delinquent accounts and also had knowledge that Riggins comingled her funds collected with those of every other client in a single account which he also used for personal expenses. When Tarrant learned that Riggins had collected several of her accounts in full but had not paid her, she pressed charges. Riggins was found guilty of embezzlement and he appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Hershey, C.J.)

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Dissent (Schaefer, J.)

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