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Former Park City fire captain pays back $33K, avoids jail time

By Emiley Morgan | Posted - Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 6:23pm



PARK CITY — A former Park City fire captain paid back more than $33,000 Monday that was owed to the city as part of his sentence for theft.

By paying back the restitution of $33,484.49, Randolph H. Scott avoided any jail time for a single count of theft, a second-degree felony. Instead, Scott was sentenced Monday to three years' probation, 400 hours of community service and was ordered to pay a $1,500 fine by 3rd District Judge Todd Shaughnessy.

A prison sentence of one to 15 years was also ordered, but was suspended.

As part of a plea agreement, Scott was told that if he paid the full restitution by Monday's sentencing, he would avoid any time behind bars, prosecutor Ryan Stack said.

"What's really important here is that the victim is made whole," Stack said, noting that financial restoration does not necessarily mean a restoration of public trust. "The judge made very clear at sentencing that but for full payment of the restitution, he (Scott) would be looking at significant jail time."

Scott was charged after an audit revealed discrepancies between the amount of paid time off Scott had actually accrued and the amount of time off for which he was paid. In the audit spanning 2010 through to August 2013, Patti Berry, human resources officer for the Park City Fire Service District, found alterations to Scott's vacation, holiday and sick time, charging documents state.

"As a result of investigating these alterations, Berry discovered that Scott altered or deleted several records to take paid time off without using any of his accumulated time-off hours," the charges state. "This resulted in Scott obtaining significantly more paid time off than he was entitled to."

Berry found that in 2011, Scott claimed more vacation, holiday-for-cash, sick and trade hours than he had actually accrued and was paid $7,857 for those hours.

In 2012, "the monetary value of these fraudulently claimed hours" climbed to $14,395. In 2013, the total value of the hours Scott wrongly claimed totaled $11, 233.

During a phone conversation on Aug. 9, the day after the fraud was discovered, Scott told Fire Chief Paul Hewitt that "what he did was 'really stupid,'" according to the charges.

He also admitted to changing his time cards and offered an apology to Hewitt for letting him down, the charges state.

Scott was charged in November with three counts of theft, a second-degree felony. He pleaded guilty to a single count in April and the other two were dismissed in exchange for Scott's plea.

Hewitt spoke at the sentencing Monday and was supportive of Scott turning his life around, but also spoke to the impact of the thefts, Stack said.

"Randy Scott was in a position of leadership and trust and one thing I gathered from the chief and other firefighters was that this was somebody that a lot of people really respected and looked up to and this information coming out was completely devastating," Stack said. "The (fire) district is healing and moving on, but it certainly leaves a scar."

Defense attorney Greg Skordas said his client is no longer a firefighter and likely won't be again. Still, he said that if Scott successfully completes his probation, his charge will be reduced to a misdemeanor.

"So he won't have a felony conviction," Skordas said. "It (the sentence) was pretty fair. I think 400 hours of community service was a lot and we didn't expect that, but certainly given the alternative he could have, no one was complaining."

Stack said to call Scott's crime disappointing and saddening would be an understatement given his position at the time.

"We expect more of those in positions of … leadership in our community and in our government," he said. "(This) left everybody feeling shell shocked. But with him paying restitution, the district — at least financially — will be able to move forward."

Scott paid the $1,500 fine in full Monday, despite being given until September 2015 to do so. Skordas said the man had to cash out his retirement to pay the restitution and fine.

"It was horrible for the guy," Skordas said.

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