Judge: Bond plea agreement needs to include time in jail

Rotary to get final money when house closes

It appears that at least some jail time will be part of any acceptable plea agreement between the district attorney, district court and former Crested Butte Rotary Club treasurer Richard Bond. Bond is facing five felony charges and one misdemeanor related to the theft of more than $40,000 from the local Rotary Club since 2008.

 

 

Bond and the district attorney’s office had come to a plea agreement last week that was presented to Gunnison District Court Judge Steven Patrick. At a hearing on Wednesday, April 18, Patrick said he was struggling with the agreement as presented.
The plea agreement reduced the charges to one felony theft and one misdemeanor theft charge. The felony charge would be deferred and essentially eliminated from public review after three years if Bond performed the rest of the requirements in the agreement. While Bond has paid back the majority of the money taken from the Rotary, he would be required to pay another $14,000 in “restitution.” That amount was accrued from past interest, attorney, bank and auditor fees, unpaid Rotary dues and money the Rotary paid to the Red Lady Coalition when Bond transferred funds from that organization into the Rotary account and then into his personal account. Bond would also be assigned up to 200 hours of community service.
Bond’s Crested Butte home is under contract to be sold and is slated to close May 1. Bond agreed to cut the Rotary a check for the remaining amount at closing and this was the primary concern of the half dozen local Rotarians attending the April 18 hearing.
Bond has another house under contract for purchase in Colorado Springs where he and his family plan to relocate.
“I have to look at the bigger picture,” stated judge Patrick. “I have been thinking a lot about this case and am struggling to understand why a case of this magnitude doesn’t include jail.” He cited several similar embezzlement cases in the region where 90 days of jail time was part of the sentences.
“There was technically pre-payment of what was stolen before charges were even filed,” explained deputy district attorney Keith Mandelski. “I have never had an embezzlement case where the money was paid back before charges were filed. That is a very unusual circumstance. I think it’s significant that 99 percent of the stolen money was paid back. I’ve never seen that. That’s why I treated it differently.”
”I agree with Mr. Mandelski,” said Bond’s attorney Tom Riser. “I’ve never seen something like that before. To say it is highly unusual would be kind.”
Mandelski said the $40,000 repaid to the Rotary by Bond had been borrowed from friends and family.
Patrick asked why Bond had taken the money. Riser explained that it was for “family expenses. He made a terrible mistake.”
Responding to a question from Patrick, Rotarian Richard Cole said the issue came to light in early June of 2011 when it was discovered the club had $74 in its bank account. Upon investigation, it was concluded that Bond had been transferring funds into his account. When informed that an audit was going to be conducted, Cole said Bond addressed the situation with him.
“I get it that restitution was paid back up front,” said Patrick. “But in similar cases, 90 days of jail seemed to be appropriate. I’m not saying 90 days is appropriate here but I think there needs to be a message of deterrence and deterrence in this case argues for some jail time. Embezzlement is not a crime of passion. It’s not like punching someone in anger.
“I can accept the terms of the agreement with the change that Rotary gets the remaining money owed them at the time of the house closing,” Patrick continued. “But if the agreement includes absolutely no jail time, I probably won’t accept it. The case can then go to trial or Mr. Bond does not have to accept the agreement. 90 days of jail may be too much. But I would like you two to revisit the agreement.”
Riser said that because jail time is a major change in the situation, he would like some time to discuss the matter with Bond.
“Part of my struggle is with the community,” said Patrick. “And people thinking they can take ten or twenty thousand dollars and not go to jail. My struggle is with consistency of past cases and deterrence for others.”
Patrick set hearing for Monday, April 23.

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