State v. Wilkinson
In State v. Wilkinson, 202 Ariz. 27, 30-31, P16, 39 P.3d 1131, 1134-35 (2002) in which the Arizona Supreme Court determined on the basis of Arizona statutory law that the loss the victims suffered that was subject to restitution consisted of the money they paid to an unlicensed contractor because that was the loss directly caused by the criminal conduct.
In Wilkinson, the Arizona Supreme Court held "that the restitution statutes direct a court to award restitution for those damages that flow directly from the defendant's criminal conduct, without the intervention of additional causative factors." Id.
In that case, the court differentiated between money paid by the victims to the defendant (Porter) as part of the original contract and those losses incurred by the victims as the result of poor and/or unfinished work:
When Porter, presenting himself as a licensed contractor, entered agreements with the victims to provide contracting services, he violated A.R.S. section 32-1151. As a direct result of Porter's offer to act as a licensed contractor, the victims agreed to pay, and did pay, all or a portion of the amounts due under their agreements with Porter.
Porter's criminal actions directly caused those losses. Indeed, the original conception of restitution, and the form with the most direct link to criminal conduct, is that of forcing the criminal to yield up to his victim the fruits of the crime.
The crime is thereby made worthless to the criminal. This form of criminal restitution is sanctioned not only by history but also by its close relationship to the retributive and deterrent purposes of criminal punishment.
The Arizona Supreme Court further noted that limiting the determination of damages to only those damages directly caused by the crime of contracting without a license avoided conflicts between civil liability and criminal sentencing and "fit squarely within the goals of criminal punishment." Id. at 29-30, PP11-13, 39 P.3d at 1133-34.