A former marina manager for the Coeur d’Alene Resort was sentenced Thursday to two years in prison for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from Hagadone Corp.
First District Judge Cynthia Meyer told Anthony David Parks his behavior was calculated, deceptive and selfish, and “a complete dereliction of your duties as a manager.”
Meyer described the theft as “almost habitual conduct” over a period of at least six years, and said she felt it necessary to protect society from Parks. The judge said she was thinking about giving him a fixed prison term of four years but instead went with the prosecution’s “generous” recommendation of two years fixed with the possibility of up to eight more years.
“You’ve earned it,” she said.
Parks was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs as family members hugged and wept.
Parks was fired from the resort marina Oct. 15 after an internal company investigation. Coeur d’Alene police arrested him a week later. He was accused of stealing $467,800 from the resort since 2005 and was charged with grand theft.
The pattern of theft came to light when an accounting review of the marina’s books revealed irregularities with cash refunds for boat rentals. Resort security installed surveillance cameras that showed Parks pocketing a $477 refund, according to a police investigation.
Confronted by managers, Parks admitted to the thefts and said he used the cash to pay bills, send his children to soccer and basketball camps and buy things for his family he couldn’t have otherwise, according to the investigation.
An auditor for resort owner Hagadone Corp. found 1,259 fraudulent refunds since 2005, including 156 transactions totaling almost $53,000 last year alone.
Staci Anderson, Parks’ attorney, described the theft scheme as a “heritage situation” in which existing employees taught new hires how to rip off the company. Other employees used Parks’ register log-in, she said, and others have been fired for similar conduct.
After a thorough review of records, Parks admits to taking about $126,000, Anderson said.
“Their bookkeeping was abysmal,” she said of the marina operation.
Parks rationalized his crimes by knowing others were doing it as well, Anderson added, but he doesn’t offer that as an excuse.
“This has been crushing for him on a deep and personal level,” she said.
Parks’ wife Danielle divorced him, he has lost friends and he has struggled to find new employment, Anderson said.
She also cited other Idaho embezzlement cases in which the offenders were given probation, not prison time. And she said Parks didn’t use the stolen money to lead a lavish lifestyle.
“It went into the gas tank, it went into the grocery bill. … He does not have a stockpile of cash,” she said.
Kootenai County Prosecuting Attorney Jed Whitaker told the judge that Parks’ crime was unique in that he stole over a long period from a large and well-known organization that gives a lot of money to charitable causes in the community.
“Mr. Parks took a piece of that for years,” Whitaker said. “He really violated the community’s trust.”
As part of his sentence, Parks agreed to pay Hagadone $10,000 to cover the company’s insurance deductible on the theft. Lawsuits will seek to recover the rest of what he stole, Whitaker noted.
“The resort had to spend $700,000 to install a new security system because of this breach,” he said.
Hagadone’s 3,000 employees and the general public are watching to see what sentence is imposed, and the community expects prison to deter others from embezzling, Whitaker told the judge.
“This is 10 years of criminal conduct, over and over and over again,” he said. “He could have stopped this at any time.”
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