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October 3, 2013 at 9:53 AM
Michael King, the former executive director of the state Senate Democratic Campaign Committee (SDCC) who was charged with embezzling at least $250,000 in campaign donations to fuel his alcohol and gambling problems, pleaded guilty this morning to four counts of first-degree theft and four counts of second-degree theft.
King showed up in King County Superior Court for what was supposed to be his arraignment on eight counts of theft. In an unusual move, he pleaded guilty. The state will recommend he serve two years in prison and pay $250,000 in restitution.
Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 22.
According to charges filed last month, King faked polling results and other expenses and wrote himself checks from the Democrats’ campaign account between 2011 and early 2013.
The thefts came to light in February, after the SDCC’s then-treasurer, Jason Bennett, noticed the suspicious expenses submitted by King. He informed the co-chairs of the committee, who hired a private law firm to investigate, and notified police.
King acknowledged the thefts during an interview with prosecutors. “I did these things and I have to accept consequences and I do,” he said, according to the charging papers.
Bank records examined by police revealed deposits to King’s personal accounts corresponding with “reimbursements” from the SDCC, and “many dozens” of withdrawals at Goldie’s Shoreline Casino in Shoreline, the Tulalip Casino in Marysville and the Silver Dollar Casino in SeaTac.
April 8, 2013 at 2:25 PM
Silas Potter Jr., the former Seattle Public Schools official accused of using his position to steal from the district, pleaded guilty this morning to 36 counts of theft for stealing funds from a district program designed to assist minority-owned businesses in receiving school district contracts.
Potter pleaded guilty to 30 counts of first-degree theft and six counts of second-degree theft.
Potter was arrested over the weekend after he failed to show up to a pretrial hearing Friday in King County Superior Court. A warrant had been issued for his arrest.
Potter is scheduled to be sentenced on June 21. He faces a sentence range of 43 to 57 months in prison, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Potter, 60, is the former director of the school district’s small-business program, which had been set up to help women and minority-owned businesses win more public contracts. He is accused in a 42-count court complaint of running a scheme that bilked the school district out of $250,000 by awarding contracts to firms that did little or no work. Potter and two others are accused of pocketing some of that money. He was arrested in Florida in November 2011 and returned to Seattle to face charges.
A 2011 state audit and a report for the school district found Potter oversaw spending of $1.8 million in questionable contracts.
The small-business program grew during Potter’s tenure, from 2006 to 2010, to about a $1 million annual budget. It was supposed to help train small and minority-owned businesses in how to get district construction contracts.
But Potter was accused of approving contracts to favored businesses and consultants who charged the district inflated prices for work of little or no public value, according to the reports.
Potter told The Times in a March 2011 interview that he had been wrongly accused.
June 28, 2012 at 10:32 AM
A former employee of a residential center for the developmentally disabled in Bremerton was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 33 months in prison for embezzling more than $300,000 from the facility.
For seven years, beginning in November 2003, Kristi Osborne, a fiscal analyst at Frances Haddon Morgan Center, stole funds paid by the state and federal governments. She also took funds from patient accounts, according to an auditor’s investigation.
During this morning’s sentencing, U.S. District Judge Robert J. Bryan said, “It is important that white collar crimes be treated seriously by the court. This crime had far more impact than the restitution amount. There is every reason for lots of people to be angry and feel betrayed.”
Osborne was also ordered to pay $304,755 in restitution.
In January, Osborne, pleaded guilty to theft of government funds. According to federal charges, Osborne managed the business office at Frances Haddon Morgan, where she did the accounting for the 55-patient facility. She wrote checks for “fictitious expenditures” and kept the cash for herself, according to federal prosecutors.
Frances Haddon Morgan Center, which specialized in care for autistic patients, closed in December as part of state budget cuts.
An audit of the Department of Social and Health Services, launched after the embezzlement was uncovered, urged the state agency to “strengthen internal controls over cash-receipting and payments.”
February 8, 2012 at 12:27 PM
A Lakewood police officer who served as the treasurer of police union was arrested today on 10 federal felonies alleging he embezzled more than $120,000 from a fund intended for the families of the four Lakewood officers killed by Maurice Clemmons in 2009.
Skeeter Manos, 34, of Dupont, was arrested at Lakewood City Hall and is scheduled to make his initial appearance on the charges in U.S. District Court in Tacoma at 2:30 today.
“This is a sad day for our community,” U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said in a news release. “These acts betrayed the memory of our fallen heroes, their families, fellow officers and all who supported the fund.”
According to the criminal complaint, Manos allegedly set up a secret bank account where he diverted approximately $151,000 intended for the families of the slain officers. He allegedly used about $120,000 from the account for purchases at Costco, Home Depot, Alaska Airlines tickets to Las Vegas and for cash withdrawals at various casinos.
Manos was treasurer of the Lakewood Police Independent Guild.
To read the charging documents, click here.
The stolen money was a portion of more than $3.2 million the public contributed for the benefit of the families of the slain officers, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“It’s disgusting and it makes me sick to my stomach,” said Bret Farrar, chief of the Lakewood Police Department. “I’ve been putting criminals in jail a long time. This is just another criminal that we’re gonna throw in jail and that we’re gonna prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.”
On Nov. 29, 2009, Clemmons fatally shot Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Ronald Owens, Tina Griswold and Gregory Richards as they sat in the Forza Coffee shop in Parkland. In an exchange of gunfire, Clemmons was wounded by Richards.
Clemmons eluded police for nearly two days until he was shot and killed by a Seattle police officer.
November 18, 2011 at 10:27 AM
A 46-year-old Tulalip Tribes member has been sentenced to a year’s confinement, including six months in prison, and ordered to pay back nearly $400,000 she embezzled while working at a tribal liquor store and smoke shop.
Angela Jones Ver Hoeven was a clerk at the store. Federal charges filed in April alleged that she stole cash while working the till, often pocketing a few hundred dollars a day. A review of smoke-shop records showed that she was routinely failing to register multi-carton sales of cigarettes, ringing up a single-carton sale and then pocketing the rest.
She stole a total of $396,043 over 32 months, according to the charges. An investigation showed that Ver Hoeven had significant gambling losses at the Quil Ceda Creek Casino during the year before the thefts, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The thefts were discovered in August 2010 when a customer called to ask for a receipt for four cartons of cigarettes she had purchased at the store’s drive-through window. No entry for a four-carton sale was recorded that day, and the manager suspected a theft.
Investigators arranged an undercover sale of six cartons of cigarettes, and Ver Hoeven allegedly recorded that only a single carton was sold and kept the extra money, according to the charges.
U.S. District Judge James Robart ordered Ver Hoeven to spend six months in prison, six months on home confinement and be supervised for three years by federal parole agents.
The case was investigated by Tulalip Tribal Police and the FBI.
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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