Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Louisa County, John M. Wright, Judge. Jay Santana appeals his judgment and sentence for theft in the third degree.
Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Nan Jennisch, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Martha E. Trout, Assistant Attorney General, and Adam D. Parsons, County Attorney, for appellee.
Considered by Eisenhauer, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Doyle, JJ.
Jay Santana appeals, challenging the factual basis for his guilty plea to the charge of theft in the third degree, in violation of Iowa Code sections 714.1 and 714.2(3) (2009). We affirm.
I. Background Facts and Proceedings
Frank Best ran for state representative in Louisa County in 2008. At the outset of his campaign, Best's campaign treasurer, Jean Brauns, opened a checking account with State Bank of Wapello under the name "Best for State House." Brauns was the only authorized signatory on the campaign account's checks.
Following Best's unsuccessful campaign, $2207.43 remained in the campaign account. In January 2009, Best enlisted his former campaign manager, Jay Santana, to close the checking account and file a campaign finance report. Best gave Santana a box containing financial documents as well as a checkbook and checks for the campaign account.
In March 2009, State Bank of Wapello notified a baffled Brauns that the campaign account had been overdrawn by $195.56. A criminal investigation revealed that in January and February 2009, Santana had written numerous checks from the campaign account, including checks to Fareway, Kum & Go, Wine & Spirits, Taste of China, AC, Orschlen's, Demonica Ester, and Gwen Ying. No one else had used the account from January through March 2009.
The State charged Santana by trial information with one count of theft in the second degree for the acts occurring in January and February 2009. Pursuant to a plea agreement, Santana entered a plea of guilty to one count of theft in the third degree, in violation of Iowa Code section 714.1 and 714.2(3). At the plea hearing, the district court asked the State to provide a factual basis for Santana's plea. The following colloquy ensued:
COURT: Mr. Parsons, on behalf of the County Attorney's Office, would you please set forth a factual basis that you believe can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt at the time of trial.
STATE: Yes, Your Honor. The State believes that Mr. Santana took a checkbook and uttered checks from that checkbook for an account drawn on—the checks were drawn on the Best for Statehouse account held by the State Bank of Wapello, and that the two victims incurred a dollar loss in excess of $500; that this uttering of the these checks was done without authorization; that Mr. Santana knew he did not have authorization; and, that it was done with the intent to permanently deprive the owners thereof.
When asked by the court whether he "agree[d] with the set of facts" set forth by the State, Santana ...