Weber was criminally prosecuted for theft from an elder. In the criminal action, she stipulated to a restitution amount of $700,000. After the victim died, the administrator of her estate sued Weber to enforce the criminal restitution award and also filed a probate action against her seeking (and securing) double damages under Prob. Code 859. The trial court properly held that Weber was collaterally estopped by her criminal conviction and therefore could not contest in the civil or probate actions the fact that she had committed elder financial abuse and that damages suffered through that abuse were $700,000. Also, the trial court correctly held that Weber was judicially estopped from denying the damage amount since she had stipulated to that sum in the criminal action and thereby secured a benefit (since there was evidence she had actually stolen $740,000). Prob. Code 859 allows recovery of double damages for financial elder abuse without any need to show that the defendant acted in bad faith. However, restitution payments Weber made between the entry of the criminal judgment and entry of the civil judgment on the restitution order should be subtracted from the principal amount of restitution, not from interest on that principal amount since until the civil judgment was entered, no interest accrued on the restitution amount.
California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 2 (Lui, P.J.); October 3, 2018; 27 Cal. App. 5th 1187