SALT LAKE CITY -- Former Morgan County Council Administrator Garth B. Day entered six guilty pleas in federal court Monday and admitted he stole nearly $1 million from the county.
Day, 42, of Elwood, pleaded guilty to money laundering; false loan and credit applications; theft from a program receiving federal funds; and wire, mail and bank fraud in connection with a fraud scheme involving the county and various financial institutions.
By pleading guilty, Day waived his right to a trial.
In his change-of-plea hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Samuel Alba, a sentencing date of Oct. 25 was set. The case is still being investigated by the FBI, Morgan County Sheriff's Office and Morgan County Attorney's Office.
"Citizens have a perception that white-collar criminals get slapped on the wrist, just get probation and get back on the street," said Morgan County Attorney Jann Farris.
"I hope the judge uses this case to send a message. Embezzling $1 million with a scheme to keep doing it warrants time in a jail cell to sit and think about your behavior."
In the plea agreement reached with federal prosecutors, Day admitted to misappropriating approximately $1 million in county funds, but claimed he paid more than half of it back before reporting his conduct to county authorities Aug. 27.
As part of the plea agreement, Day agreed to pay full restitution of $416,222.24.
"He is posturing to take some credit for self-reporting, but he was well on his way to being investigated before he self-reported," Farris said.
"He cooperated with law enforcement, but didn't go out of his way to cooperate."
According to the plea agreement, Day's scheme involved several electronic transfers, fraudulent mailings to banks and credit card companies and forged documents to get them to extend him credit in Morgan County's name.
Day, who was council administrator from June 2008 to Aug. 4, 2010, admitted to creating false documents to cover his criminal conduct when questioned by county officials.
"He was pretty sophisticated with what he did. I think he came to town with this plan to take advantage of little old Morgan, and it worked for a while," Farris said.
Day said he participated in the scheme to pay off personal debts accrued from two speculation homes he owned.
"Because of a desperate need to pay off personal debt that I accrued from two defunct speculation homes that I owned, I obtained funds from Morgan County and misappropriated a total of approximately $1 million through my scheme to defraud Morgan County and various financial institutions," including Centennial Bank, First National Bank of Morgan, Chase Bank and US Bank, Day said in court documents.
He said he owes Centennial Bank $250,000 and Morgan County $166,222.24. His attorney, Brad Smith, said Monday that Day would have no comment on the day's developments.