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State v. Hagen

Supreme Court of Iowa

November 22, 2013

STATE of Iowa, Appellant,
v.
Marc A. HAGEN, Appellee.

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Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Martha E. Trout, Assistant Attorney General, and Kasey E. Wadding, County Attorney, for appellant.

John W. Holmes of Holmes & Holmes, Waterloo, for appellee.

ZAGER, Justice.

Marc Hagen pled guilty to four counts of fraudulent practices, willful failure to file or pay taxes, in violation of Iowa Code section 422.25(1)(5) (2005).[1] The State sought as restitution Hagen's unpaid taxes, penalties, and interest. The district court, after a restitution hearing, ordered Hagen to pay restitution in the form of unpaid taxes, but denied the State's request for penalties and interest as part of the restitution order. The State claims the district court erred by not ordering Hagen to pay the statutory penalties and statutory interest as part of the restitution order. For the reasons set forth below, we reverse the district court and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

Marc Hagen was charged with four counts of fraudulent practices for willfully failing to file his Iowa income tax returns and pay taxes for years 2006 through 2009. The State alleged violations of Iowa Code section 422.25(1)(5). Three of the counts were class " D" felonies because the alleged amount of Hagen's unpaid tax obligation for three of the years exceeded $1000. One count was an aggravated misdemeanor because Hagen's unpaid tax obligation for one of the years was greater than $500, but less than $1000. For the same period of years, the State also charged Hagen with four counts of tax evasion in violation of Iowa Code section 422.25(1)(8). These counts were all punishable as class " D" felonies.

In February 2012, the State offered to dismiss the four counts of tax evasion in exchange for Hagen's guilty pleas to the four counts of fraudulent practices for failing to file tax returns and pay the taxes. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Hagen was required to pay restitution to the Treasurer of the State of Iowa.

The following month, Hagen entered written guilty pleas to the four counts of fraudulent practices. In April 2012, the district court engaged Hagen in a plea colloquy during which Hagen acknowledged that, for each of the years from 2006 through 2009, he willfully failed to file Iowa individual income tax returns and failed to pay the taxes. The district court accepted Hagen's guilty pleas.

On April 27, 2012, the State filed a statement of restitution seeking restitution of $20,385.19. Accompanying the statement of restitution was a summary prepared by the Iowa Department of Revenue (department) explaining the amounts sought as restitution. For each of the years from 2006 through 2009, the State sought unpaid taxes, penalties, and interest. In total, the State sought $10,355 in unpaid taxes, $8237.40 in penalties representing a seventy-five percent civil fraud penalty and a " 2210 penalty," [2] and $1792.79 in interest,

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which was calculated through June 2012. Hagen initially objected to the statement of restitution on the ground that he lacked the ability to pay restitution.

On May 29, 2012, the district court sentenced Hagen to five years in prison for the three felony counts of fraudulent practices and two years in prison for the aggravated misdemeanor count of fraudulent practices. The sentences were to run concurrently. The district court suspended the sentences and fines and placed Hagen on supervised probation. The court also ordered that Hagen pay restitution. The court reserved its determination of the amount of restitution for a later hearing.

At the restitution hearing conducted on July 23, 2012, the State submitted the summary prepared by the department. The State also provided the testimony of the department auditor who prepared the summary. The auditor explained the summary and how she calculated the amount of unpaid taxes, penalties, and interest sought by the State. The State reiterated its request that the court order Hagen to pay $20,385.19 in restitution. Hagen objected to the imposition of interest and the fraud penalty as parts of the order for restitution. Hagen also asserted the department was not a " victim" for purposes of restitution.

After the hearing, the court entered its restitution order. It ordered Hagen to pay as restitution $10,355, which represented unpaid taxes due for the years 2006 through 2009. The court concluded, however, that it could not require Hagen, as part of a criminal restitution order, to pay either the penalties or interest sought by the State. The court thus denied the State's request for $8237.40 in penalties and $1792.79 in interest. The State sought discretionary review of the district court's ruling denying the State's request for penalties and interest in the restitution order. We granted discretionary review.

II. Issues on Appeal.

There are three issues on appeal. First, we must decide whether the State is a victim for purposes of the restitution statute. Second, we must determine whether the district court erred by failing to order penalties as part of the restitution order. Finally, we must decide whether the court erred by failing to impose interest on the unpaid taxes as part of the restitution order.

III. Standard of Review.

We review restitution orders for correction of errors at law. State v. Jenkins, 788 N.W.2d 640, 642 (Iowa 2010). In reviewing a restitution order " we determine whether the court's findings lack substantial evidentiary support, or whether the court has not properly applied the law." State v. Bonstetter, 637 N.W.2d 161, 165 (Iowa 2001). Questions of statutory interpretation also are reviewed for correction of errors at law. State v. Romer, 832 N.W.2d 169, 174 (Iowa 2013).

IV. Discussion.

A. Other Arguments of the Defendant.

Before discussing the issues preserved in this appeal, we will address two additional arguments raised by Hagen for the first time in this appeal.

1. Lack of sufficient information.

Hagen does not dispute the underlying amount of unpaid Iowa taxes assessed against him as part of the restitution order.[3] ...


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