Former DABC Manager Accused of Misusing Funds

Former DABC Manager Accused of Misusing Funds

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Richard Warren Pearson, former Alcoholic Beverage Control administrative services manager, has been accused of using $131,541.13 of the division's money to pay for groceries, uniforms and equipment for a soccer league and other unauthorized purchases.

Pearson, 62, was charged Wednesday with three counts of misuse of public money, one count of theft and one count of communications fraud.

The Salt Lake District Attorney's Office also served notice it seeks to have him disqualified from ever holding public office, district attorney spokesman Kent Morgan said.

Pearson did not return calls seeking comment, and DABC officials were not available for comment.

The state investigation that ultimately led to Pearson's resignation from the agency in June concluded that he had co-mingling state money with his own accounts.

In 1999, Pearson allegedly opened an account at Beehive Credit Union, where he had his personal account and an account for Sparta United Soccer league.

He named himself trustee of the new DABC Candy Account, unauthorized but intended to fund an employee gym, purchase candy machines for the agency's office and provide an unofficial employee Christmas fund, court documents allege.

A state audit discovered Pearson advanced money to employees from a DABC petty cash account at Bank One, to which Pearson had access for his job. Pearson allegedly deposited the petty cash's repayments into his personal accounts at Beehive Credit Union, court documents state.

Pearson also allegedly disbursed petty cash directly into his Beehive accounts.

The audit found Pearson deposited recycling money into his Beehive accounts or the soccer account, to which he had access. Large quantities of liquor are shipped in cardboard boxes; the DABC receives money for boxes it sends out to be recycled, court documents state.

Court documents state that DABC director Ken Wynn confronted Pearson in March about $25,777 in embroidery and clothing orders for Sparta United Soccer paid with agency funds, and Pearson said the soccer league would reimburse the agency.

The audit found that Sparta United Soccer wrote a check in the full amount to the DABC, but that Pearson deposited more than $6,000 into a Beehive account. The rest of the money was deposited into the DABC's petty cash account and then redistributed to Pearson without any documentation, court documents state.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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