Case Caption: Riise E.S. Richards v. people of the Virgin IslandsCase Number: SCT-CRIM-2017-0009Date: 04/09/2021Author: Cabret, Maria M. Citation: 2021 VI 6Summary: In an appeal from a conviction for embezzlement in violation of 14 V.I.C. § 1089, the argument that appeals taken to the Appellate Division on or after October 29, 2004 were heard without jurisdiction, and that opinions and orders in those appeals are void, would produce absurd results and is rejected under prior case law holdings. Because this appeal was taken before this Court assumed jurisdiction over appeals, the Appellate Division had jurisdiction to hear the appeal under the Revised Organic Act. Even if the defendant was not an officer, she was a servant of an officer under the statute, and a rational trier of fact could have found this essential element of the crime established beyond a reasonable doubt based on the testimony and evidence introduced at trial. In the Virgin Islands embezzlement is defined as fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom it has been entrusted, as provided in 14 V.I.C. § 1087. In the present case, the defendant’s taking was unlawful, as she did not have permission to obtain the cash advance funds and she instead procured them by subterfuge, and no reasonable juror could conclude that she had lawful custody or control of these funds by virtue of her trust within the meaning of the statute. The People failed to demonstrate that the defendant had specific authority or control over the cash advance funds sufficient to establish control by virtue of her trust, and her conviction for embezzlement under 14 V.I.C. § 1089 must therefore be reversed. This case is remanded to the Superior Court with instructions to enter a judgment of acquittal on the charge of embezzlement under 14 V.I.C. § 1089.Attachment: Open Document or Opinion