CORNELIUS CANNADY, SR. A/K/A CORNELIUS CANNADY A/K/A CORNELIUS G. CANNADY APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 11/04/2015
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. WILLIAM E. CHAPMAN III Judge
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY:
W. DANIEL HINCHCLIFF
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
ABBIE EASON KOONCE
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: MICHAEL GUEST
IRVING, P.J., ISHEE, FAIR AND WILSON, JJ.
In November 2015, Cornelius Cannady was convicted by a jury
in the Madison County Circuit Court of false pretense and
conspiracy to commit false pretense. Cannady was sentenced as
a habitual offender to serve a term of fifteen years in the
custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections
(MDOC)-ten years for the false-pretense count, and five years
for the conspiracy count, with the sentences to run
consecutively to one another. Cannady moved for a judgment
notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) or, in the alternative, a
new trial. The circuit court denied the motions.
Cannady's appeal was assigned to the Office of the State
Public Defender, Indigent Appeals Division (IAD). In his
appellate brief, Cannady's attorney asserted that he had
conducted a good-faith inquiry into arguable issues for
appeal, but ultimately could find none. Having reviewed the
record, we also find no meritorious issues and affirm the
circuit court's judgment.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
After extensive investigation, Cannady was indicted on one
count of false pretense, and one count of conspiracy to
commit false pretense-as a habitual offender.
At trial, Investigator Jason Rudd, with the Ridgeland Police
Department, testified that Cannady was the mastermind behind
a check-cashing scheme involving several individuals.
Rudd's testimony revealed that fraudulent payroll
checks-from nonexistent businesses-were cashed at All
American Check Cashing (All American). Rudd explained that
Jeremiah Jackson, Charwona Page, and Jason Johnson were
involved in this scheme and that Cannady was the ringleader.
Cannady would drive the various individuals around in his van
and have them cash the fake payroll checks. In return, the
individuals would receive approximately $100 for each check
they cashed. After Cannady was arrested, Rudd found two cell
phones and a bank card belonging to Page's fake business,
CP Sales and Services, in his car.
Russell Boyette, an employee of All American, testified that
on October 7, 2014, Jackson, Johnson, and Page came into his
business-at two different times-and presented three different
fraudulent checks to be cashed. The check Page cashed was in
the amount of $681.20, and the two checks Jackson and Johnson
cashed totaled over $1, 000. Later, All American called to
verify the authenticity of the checks, and after being told
they were legitimate, cashed them. It was only a few days
later that they learned that the checks were actually
fraudulent. On cross-examination, Boyette admitted that
Cannady himself never came into All American. And Boyette
further testified that he was not aware that Cannady ever
attempted to cash any checks himself.
Edward Keys testified that Cannady, whom he knew as
"Check Man, " approached him about the opportunity
to make money by cashing checks and opening bank accounts.
Cannady took him to open a checking account for Keys
Automotive, and then to the Secretary of State's office
to incorporate the business. Keys admitted that he never had
a car-lot business-or even an office or phone number. Keys
testified that he thought the phone number associated with
the business was actually Cannady's. And although they
used Keys's address and phone number to open the checking
account, Cannady paid the initial deposit of $250, and Keys
gave the debit cards and checks associated with the account
to Cannady; Keys never used them himself. Keys further
testified that once he "figured out it was a scam,
" he attempted to close the checking account, but the
bank would not allow him to because it was so overdrawn.
Page also testified that she knew Cannady as "Check Man,
" and that the scheme was his idea. She testified that
when someone would call the phone number for Keys Automotive,
it was set up to call Cannady's phone. Page told the jury
that Cannady took her to open up "CP Sales and Service,
" which was a fictitious business, and provided her with
the funds to open the account. And like Keys, Page gave
Cannady the debit cards tied to the account. Page testified
that on October 7-when she went to cash the fraudulent
checks-she went at the direction of Cannady, and they both
knew there was no money ...