Man has to pay back money despite court errors

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled a man must pay back $19,486 he stole from another man despite court errors and the fact that the 10-year statute of limitations had expired.

In 2002, Thomas Yeager provided Freddie Webb with a check for the payoff balance of Yeager’s vehicle and with the vehicle for Webb to sell. However, Webb did not sell the vehicle nor use the money to pay off the vehicle. Yeager submitted a restitution claim in 2004 and later that year, Webb pleaded guilty to theft as a Class D felony, ordering Webb pay Yeager restitution of $21,700.

Webb also had four other cases he was paying on for theft. In 2009, Webb was released from probation and the court issued an order which in part said that Webb owed $0 in restitution.

In 2014, Yeager filed a complaint against Webb saying he was still owed more than $19,000, and had only received part of his payments. Webb said the court said his balance was paid in full. Later that year, the Allen County chief probation officer filed a correction showing that Webb still owed Yeager $20,593. In November 2015, the court officially entered the order showing the correct amount due.

In 2015, both parties filed motions for summary judgment in the matter and the court denied Webb’s motion and granted Yeager’s. Webb appealed, saying Yeager’s complaint was untimely; the court in the 2004 decision did not have jurisdiction to enter the 2015 order and change the amount due; and genuine issues of material fact precluded the entry of summary judgment.

In the matter of timeliness, while the court found the judgment lien had expired, it said Yeager still had cause to enforce the judgment itself in the case, because that does not expire for 20 years.

The COA also found the court did have jurisdiction to enter the 2015 order and change the amount due, because a restitution order is not discharged by the completion of any probationary period or other sentence under Ind. Code 35-50-5-3(f).

Finally, the court found that Webb did not appeal the 2015 order when it was changed, and therefore res judicata prevailed and Webb could not challenge the ruling. Because of that, the court cannot rule on whether there were issues of material fact.

The case is Freddie L. Webb v Thomas A Yeager, 02A03-1508-CC-1099.

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