State v. Henderson

State v. Henderson, 2015 MT 56 (Feb. 24, 2015) (Cotter, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: Whether defendant who pled guilty to felony insurance fraud and theft was properly ordered to pay restitution.

Short Answer: Yes.


Facts: Fire Insurance Exchange insured Henderson’s home from 2000-2008. Henderson moved out of state in 2005, leaving behind many personal items in the house. She made a claim in 2007 that her home had been broken into and robbed on two separate occasions. First robbery was reported to and investigated by sheriff; second robbery not reported.

FIE paid Henderson $22,602 in 2008. She submitted supplemental claim in 2009 for $23,103 for replacement cost of items. FIE denied claim and referred for criminal charges.

Henderson was charged in 2012 with felony insurance fraud and theft. State demanded she pay $22,602 in restitution.

Procedural Posture & Holding: Henderson pled guilty to purposely and knowingly making a false or misleading statements and presenting a false receipt to insurance company. District court entered judgment and sentenced her to six years, deferred, and required restitution to the insurance company. Henderson appeals and the Supreme Court affirms.

Reasoning: Henderson argues initial insurance claim was legitimate and cannot be basis for restitution as she was criminally charged for supplemental claim only.

Restitution may be imposed for losses caused by “offenses to which the accused (1) has admitted, (2) has been found guilty, or (3) has agreed to pay restitution.” ¶ 13 (quoting Thorpe). Henderson pled guilty to making false claims between May 1, 2007 and June 25, 2009. This time period encompasses her initial claim. This she has admitted to a criminal offense than resulted in a pecuniary loss to FIE.