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Server’s electronic tip alteration is forgery, COA rules

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A Logan’s Roadhouse server who used a computer to alter the amount of tip a customer left for her on a credit card can be convicted of forgery, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Thursday.

Customer Nicolette Lee noticed that her credit card had been charged $2 more than the amount she authorized after eating at Logan’s in November 2011. She called the restaurant, which credited her back the $2. Manager Chad Keefe discovered that several of server Lindsay Tatusko’s checks from that same day also contained discrepancies in the amount of tip left on the receipt and what Tatusko entered into the restaurant’s computer system. Keefe reported the incidents to police, and Tatusko was charged with and found guilty of Class C felony forgery and Class D felony theft.

In Lindsay Tatusko v. State of Indiana, 29A04-1208-CR-413, Tatusko claimed that the evidence that she submitted a different tip amount than that authorized by Lee into the computer system does not constitute a violation under the forgery statute.

“But we agree with the State that Lee’s bill was ‘not closed out and completed’ until Tatusko reviewed the credit card slip, entered the tip amount into the computer, and hit ‘authorize settle’ a second time,” Judge Edward Najam wrote.

“Here, had the entire transaction been conducted on paper, Tatusko would have had to change the tip amount in writing, which would have satisfied the elements of the forgery statute, even according to Tatusko. Just because she changed the tip amount electronically does not mean that her conduct falls outside of the statute.”

The COA also denied Tatusko’s claim that she was denied effective assistance of trial counsel when her attorney did not move the trial court to ask each remaining potential juror whether comments by Juror 34 had any affect on their ability to remain unbiased. During voir dire, Juror 34 said he had rented property to Tatusko and kicked her out for not paying bills on time. No one objected to the juror’s comments. Later, when the court asked all the prospective jurors as a group whether any could be biased against Tatusko, Juror 34 said “Yeah, I – since my relationship with her was not good … .” Juror 34 was then excused.

The COA found it to be reasonable to assume that the defense counsel’s strategy was to avoid drawing further attention to the juror’s comments.

 

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  1. A traditional parade of attorneys? Really Evansville? Y'all need to get out more. When is the traditional parade of notaries? Nurses? Sanitation workers? Pole dancers? I gotta wonder, do throngs of admiring citizens gather to laud these marching servants of the constitution? "Show us your billing records!!!" Hoping some video gets posted. Ours is not a narcissistic profession by any chance, is it? Nah .....

  2. My previous comment not an aside at court. I agree with smith. Good call. Just thought posting here a bit on the if it bleeds it leads side. Most attorneys need to think of last lines of story above.

  3. Hello everyone I'm Gina and I'm here for the exact same thing you are. I have the wonderful joy of waking up every morning to my heart being pulled out and sheer terror of what DCS is going to Throw at me and my family today.Let me start from the !bebeginning.My daughter lost all rights to her 3beautiful children due to Severe mental issues she no longer lives in our state and has cut all ties.DCS led her to belive that once she done signed over her right the babies would be with their family. We have faught screamed begged and anything else we could possibly due I hired a lawyer five grand down the drain.You know all I want is my babies home.I've done everything they have even asked me to do.Now their saying I can't see my grandchildren cause I'M on a prescription for paipain.I have a very rare blood disease it causes cellulitis a form of blood poisoning to stay dormant in my tissues and nervous system it also causes a ,blood clotting disorder.even with the two blood thinners I'm on I still Continue to develop them them also.DCS knows about my illness and still they refuse to let me see my grandchildren. I Love and miss them so much Please can anyone help Us my grandchildren and I they should be worrying about what toy there going to play with but instead there worrying about if there ever coming home again.THANK YOU DCS FOR ALL YOU'VE DONE. ( And if anyone at all has any ideals or knows who can help. Please contact (765)960~5096.only serious callers

  4. He must be a Rethuglican, for if from the other side of the aisle such acts would be merely personal and thus not something that attaches to his professional life. AND ... gotta love this ... oh, and on top of talking dirty on the phone, he also, as an aside, guess we should mention, might be important, not sure, but .... "In addition to these allegations, Keaton was accused of failing to file an appeal after he collected advance payment from a client seeking to challenge a ruling that the client repay benefits because of unreported income." rimshot

  5. I am not a fan of some of the 8.4 discipline we have seen for private conduct-- but this was so egregious and abusive and had so many points of bad conduct relates to the law and the lawyer's status as a lawyer that it is clearly a proper and just disbarment. A truly despicable account of bad acts showing unfit character to practice law. I applaud the outcome.

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