Bob Morris pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing $1,000 from the Pend Oreille County Economic Development Council while he was the director.
Morris, 48, admitted one count of forgery and one count of second-degree theft for changing an expense check from $127.85 to $1,127.85. He is to be sentenced May 11.
Deputy Prosecutor Tony Koures agreed to drop a first-degree theft charge in connection with a $224.40 expense check that was converted to $2,224.40. Koures said he will not file additional charges.
Officials say an audit showed Morris altered three checks and got paid twice on one occasion by claiming to have lost a check he cashed.
The guilty pleas involved a check Morris rewrote after voiding one written by his secretary. He moved the numbers to the right, leaving room to add “1” and “one-thousand” after commissioners signed the check.
Both Koures and defense attorney Doug Lambarth said there was no plea bargain. Koures said he probably will ask Superior Court Judge Fred Stewart to impose the maximum 90-day jail term under state sentencing guidelines.
Koures said he will not seek restitution because
Morris already has repaid $2,800 to the development council under a civil settlement.
Lambarth declined to comment and Morris was not immediately available.
Morris, who owns the Diamond Lake Resort, worked part-time for the development council and was fired last June. The quasi-public organization uses public and private money.
Thursday’s plea came as a surprise. Morris declined to plead at his arraignment on March 9, and Judge Stewart entered an innocent plea on his behalf. A trial was to have started Monday.
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