An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute controlling legal authority. Citation is disfavored, but may be permitted in accordance with the provisions of Rule 30(e)(3) of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Proced ure.

NO. COA03-112
                                          &nb sp; 

Filed: 20 January 2004


v .                         Columbus County
                            No. 01 CRS 50743

    Appeal by defendant from judgment entered 21 August 2002 by Judge W. Allen Cobb in Columbus County Superior Court. Heard in the Court of Appeals 17 November 2003.

    Attorney General Roy A. Cooper, by Special Deputy Attorney General Thomas R. Miller, for the State

    Leslie G. Fritscher for defendant.

    LEVINSON, Judge.

    Defendant (Joan T. Olsen) was indicted for feloniously drawing, making, uttering, or issuing and delivering a worthless check. The evidence presented at trial, taken in the light most favorable to the State, is summarized as follows: Defendant was one of three incorporators of Green Chapel Development, Incorporated, and was one of two people authorized to sign checks drawn on Green Chapel Development's bank account. She signed all or nearly all of the checks drafted by the corporation in October and November 1999.
    In the fall of 1999, Green Chapel Development was overseeing the construction of a building project. In relation to this undertaking, defendant hired Delton Patrick as a masonrysubcontractor to do some brickwork. During a conversation with defendant, Patrick estimated that the brickwork would cost between $5,000 and $6,500. Patrick began work for Green Chapel Development in October of 1999 and worked for approximately thirteen and one- half days. Shortly after Patrick and his crew began working, Danny Davis, defendant's business associate and boyfriend, came by the job site to ask whether Patrick was willing to finish the work before submitting a bill. Patrick answered affirmatively and indicated that he would likely finish the job on the following Friday, 29 October 1999.
    At approximately 5:00 p.m. on Friday, 29 October 1999, Danny Davis returned to the job site. Patrick anticipated completing the brickwork later that evening. Davis asked Patrick how much he owed him, and Patrick submitted a bill for $5,790. Davis took the bill to his vehicle and returned with a check made out to Patrick in the amount of $5,790, dated 1 November 1999, drawn on Green Chapel Development's account, and signed by Joan T. Olsen. At no time after 14 October 1999 did the account upon which the check had been drawn have sufficient funds to honor the check. Several days later, Patrick was unable to cash the check, and a bank teller informed him that a stop payment order had been placed on the instrument.
    Defendant moved for dismissal at the close of the State's evidence and again at the close of all of the evidence. The trial court denied both motions, and defendant was convicted by a Columbus County jury. She now appeals, contending that the trialcourt erred in denying her motion to dismiss because the State failed to prove that she had knowledge that the check was drawn on insufficient funds. We do not agree.
    When ruling on a motion to dismiss, “the trial court must determine only whether there is substantial evidence of each essential element of the offense charged and of the defendant being the perpetrator of the offense.” State v. Crawford, 344 N.C. 65, 73, 472 S.E.2d 920, 925 (1996).
        Evidence is substantial if it is relevant and adequate to convince a reasonable mind to accept a conclusion. In considering a motion to dismiss, the trial court must analyze the evidence in the light most favorable to the State and give the State the benefit of every reasonable inference from the evidence. The trial court must also resolve any contradictions in the evidence in the State's favor. The trial court does not weigh the evidence, consider evidence unfavorable to the State, or determine any witness' credibility.

State v. Robinson, 355 N.C. 320, 336, 561 S.E.2d 245, 255-56 (internal citations and quotation marks omitted), cert. denied, 537 U.S. 1006, 154 L. Ed. 2d 404 (2002). “[T]he rule for determining the sufficiency of evidence is the same whether the evidence is completely circumstantial, completely direct, or both.” State v. Wright, 302 N.C. 122, 126, 273 S.E.2d 699, 703 (1981).
    The crime of felony worthless check writing is defined as follows:
        (a) It is unlawful for any person, firm or corporation, to draw, make, utter or issue and deliver to another, any check or draft on any bank or depository, for the payment of money or its equivalent, knowing at the time of the making, drawing, uttering, issuing and delivering the check or draft, that the makeror drawer of it has not sufficient funds on deposit in or credit with the bank or depository with which to pay the check or draft upon presentation.

        . . . .

        (d) A violation of this section is a Class I felony if the amount of the check or draft is more than two thousand dollars ($ 2,000).

N.C.G.S. § 14-107 (2003) (emphasis added). Knowledge is one of the essential elements of the crime of felony worthless check writing. See id. “Guilty knowledge, being a state of mind, is almost never provable by direct evidence. Its existence almost always must be proved, if at all, by circumstantial evidence.” State v. Weldon, 314 N.C. 401, 406, 333 S.E.2d 701, 704 (1985). This Court has held that “the mere issuing of a check which is returned due to insufficient funds or lack of credit, without more, is not evidence from which the requisite knowledge can be inferred.” Semones v. Southern Bell Tel. & Tel. Co., 106 N.C. App. 334, 340, 416 S.E.2d 909, 913 (1992). However, such knowledge may be gleaned from other facts and circumstances. See Weldon, 314 N.C. at 406, 33 S.E.2d at 704 (holding that guilty knowledge may be proved by circumstantial evidence); State v. Bell, 285 N.C. 746, 750, 208 S.E.2d 506, 508 (1974) (indicating that intent “must ordinarily be proved by circumstances from which it may be inferred”).
    In the present case, Patrick testified that during a conversation with defendant he had informed her that the masonry work would cost between $5,000 and $6,500. Patrick further testified that approximately one week prior to the issuing of the check, Davis, defendant's business associate and boyfriend, visitedthe job site to ask Patrick if the masonry crew would complete the job before submitting a bill. According to Patrick, he answered affirmatively and told Davis that the masonry crew would probably finish on the following Friday, 29 October 1999. Davis testified that he and defendant had an understanding that Patrick would receive a check when he was finished with the work. It undisputed that on Friday, 29 October 1999, Danny returned to the job site and issued a check, signed by Joan T. Olsen, payable to Patrick in the amount of $5,790.
    Bank records introduced by the State indicated that defendant was one of only two people authorized to sign checks drawn on the account of the Green Chapel Development and that, during the months of October and November 1999, all of the Green Chapel Development's checks which could be recovered by the bank were signed by defendant. Two checks could not be physically located by the bank: one check was written for $142.09 and debited on 26 October 1999; the other check was the check which had been issued to Patrick. A bank statement issued on 26 October 1999 revealed that there were insufficient funds in the account to pay the check given to Patrick. The Green Chapel Development checking account had a balance of $13,446.41 on 26 September 1999. Between 26 September and 26 October, seven deposits, totaling $32,146.50 were credited to the account. During the same period, defendant signed at least twenty-eight checks drawn against the account, totaling $41,278.09, not including the check written to Patrick and the other check which could not be located. A section of the statementdenominated as “balance by date” revealed that the account had not had sufficient funds to honor the check written to Patrick since 14 October 1999. At no time after the check was written to Patrick were sufficient funds to cover the check placed in the account.
    This evidence, cast in the light most favorable to the State, is sufficient to permit the inference that defendant was sufficiently involved with the account such that she was aware of its balance of funds and that the check given to Patrick would exceed that balance. Accord State v. Cruse, 253 N.C. 456, 459, 117 S.E.2d 49, 51 (1960) (testimony from bank officers that a business did not have sufficient funds on deposit to pay checks drawn on an account, together with evidence that defendants knew that checks could not be drawn against uncollected commercial paper, was sufficient to permit the inference that defendants had knowledge of insufficient funds to cover the checks). Therefore, the trial court's denial of defendant's motion to dismiss was proper with respect to the element of knowledge.
    No error.
    Chief Judge EAGLES and Judge MARTIN concur.
    Report per Rule 30(e).

*** Converted from WordPerfect ***