If Mark Poveromo feels a bit confused in New Haven, Connecticut, he is not the only one. A judge recently ordered Poveromo to pay damages, court costs, and attorney’s fees to a thief who stole his money. Builder Mark R. Koch of Illinois first stole the money, was convicted of theft, and then successfully sued Poveromo for damages.
In 2006, Poveromo gave Koch $39,500 of $80,000 to build a new building. Koch took the money and did no work. Poveromo filed a criminal complaint and Koch was convicted — paying $25,000 with monthly payments in restitution. However, Kock also sued Poveromo, claiming that he had filed for bankruptcy protection in St. Louis, which stays any claims against him.
Judge Charles Rendlen III agreed with Koch, calling the criminal complaint “highly suspect timing” and found that Poveromo intentionally violated the bankruptcy stay on claims. Poveromo said that he never saw the notice sent to his business.
Rendlen would not even allow Poveromo to appear by telephone at a hearing despite that fact that Poveromo must care for his elderly parents. He hit him with full damages, court costs, and fees.
The problem with the ruling is that Koch must have raised this as a defense but was still convicted. While Poveromo was the complaining party, it was the state that prosecuted Koch. The state had to find scienter to commit a crime — above any bankruptcy problem.
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