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Aluminum thief “remorseless,” judge says

UPDATED: Mon., Aug. 22, 2011, 9:02 p.m.

COLVILLE – A trusted supervisor whose thefts nearly bankrupted a Colville boat manufacturer was sentenced Monday to six years in prison – two years more than a deputy prosecutor recommended.

Stevens County Superior Court Judge Al Nielson said Chris Boring was “remorseless and relentless” in his theft of 360,799 pounds of aluminum sheet from his employer, Hewes Marine.

“It boggles the mind” that Boring accepted responsibility for investigating the missing aluminum and then selected other employees for layoffs when the thefts and the recession brought the company to its knees, the judge said.

Also, Nielson told Boring, “You got your wife mixed up in this because it was convenient to have her haul the stuff down there (to Action Recycling in Spokane, which paid more than $200,000 for the stolen aluminum), and I hold that against you.”

Boring, 40, pleaded guilty last month to aggravated first-degree theft and aggravated first-degree trafficking in stolen property, and a jury subsequently convicted his wife, 38-year-old Jody Boring, of aggravated second-degree trafficking.

Except for the aggravating circumstances, based on the amount of the thefts and the effect on victims, Chris Boring’s standard sentencing range would have been six months to a year in jail. Jody Boring’s would have been one to three months.

Nielson gave her what he considered the minimum possible sentence of three months plus one day for the aggravating circumstances. He allowed her to arrange child care for the couple’s five children – the oldest of whom is 17 – before she begins serving her time.

Deputy Prosecutor Matt Enzler had called for a two- to three-year sentence for Jody Boring. He argued that she profited from the thefts and noted her jury found she acted recklessly – although not knowingly – when she hauled pickup loads of stolen metal to Action Recycling over a three-year period.

Chris Boring showed little emotion throughout his sentencing hearing, but his wife tearfully outlined a series of tragedies that culminated in what she said was the discovery that she, like her husband’s Hewes Marine colleagues, had been deceived by Chris Boring.

She apologized to the dozen Hewes managers and workers who described how they were affected. She said the company gave him a great opportunity and “he squandered every bit of it.”

Jody Boring said she threw her husband out their home for a time, but “he is the father of my children” and “my children are worth every bit of forgiveness that I can muster up for him.”

She said she lost her father to complications of lung cancer in 2005 and her mother to ovarian cancer in 2008, when she learned that she had a high genetic probability of acquiring ovarian or breast cancer. As a preventive measure, she underwent a hysterectomy and a double mastectomy.

“You cannot possibly measure the severity of my emotional state,” she told Nielson.

He said she, like her husband, didn’t qualify for a first-offense program because their convictions involved numerous offenses rolled into a single charge.

Jody Boring’s attorney, Jim Irwin, sought the first-offense option to spare her a jail sentence, but Chris Boring’s attorney, Brendan Kidd, suggested a year in prison for his client.

“Honestly, I am the baddest person sitting here,” Chris Boring said. “I crapped on my family.”

Also, he said, “I did stand in front of 25 people and laid them off” for financial problems he helped create.

“I did a horrible act because I was hung up in gambling,” Boring said.

Boring said he didn’t think he deserved a four-year sentence, and asked to be sent to a prison that would allow him to obtain a college degree.

Nielson promised only that Boring would spend the rest of his life paying restitution.

Speaker after speaker described the pain of losing their jobs or living with guilt over the way they accused one another of responsibility for the missing metal no one could track down. One supervisor was unjustly demoted, they noted.

“I still feel that I let a lot of people down,” said Bill Hewes, co-owner and chief financial officer.

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