STK - Money Gavel

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Attorney General’s Office filed fraud charges Tuesday against a fired state purchasing manager from Kaysville who allegedly stole $1.3 million with contracts for fake parks projects.

Daniel Wayne Clark, 60, was issued a summons to appear in 3rd District Court on April 1 on eight felony charges arising from an alleged scheme that funneled state funds to a company he owned.

The fraud was detected by a Utah Department of Natural Resources internal purchasing audit in March 2020, the Attorney General’s Office said in a news release.

The Division of State Parks and Recreation, a subsidiary agency of Natural Resources, disciplined and fired Clark on July 23.

Clark, a 23-year parks employee, was the agency’s construction and development manager. Charging documents said he used his position to generate fake quotation bid sheets to authorize dozens of payments to his company, Colt Paving Inc.

State investigators alleged he funneled $1.3 million to his own bank account over 20 years with the fake contracts for fictitious paving and grading projects at various state parks. Checks made out to the paving company were signed by “Dan Clark” and deposited in his personal account.

They also alleged Clark produced the invoices, which he approved for processing and payment, without disclosing to the state that he owned the paving company.

For example, charging documents said he submitted and was paid for five invoices from September 2018 to January 2020 for nonexistent projects at Antelope Island State Park.

Knowing he was being investigated, Clark met with state investigators and gave them monthly Home Depot credit card statements he said showed items he bought for various parks projects, the charging documents said.

Home Depot researched the transactions for investigators aid reported that items obtained did not match those listed by Clark. One purchase, identified by Clark as being for a “skid steer rental,” actually was used to buy a terra cotta rug, turf builder mix, a rider lawn mower bag attachment and bungee cords.

Investigators said they interviewed Clark on Oct. 1, at which time he claimed he did all the work on the projects.

“If he thought the secondary bid was too high, he thought that given his expertise and background in construction, Colt Paving Inc. could do the job a little better and for a lower price,” charging documents said.

He also gave them photos as proof of work completed.

Clark volunteered to investigators, the state indictment said, that “the whole process is rife for abuse due to the lack of two-source verification that projects are completed.”

He is charged with five counts of communications fraud, one count of pattern of unlawful activity and one count of improper use of state employee position, all second-degree felonies; and a third-degree felony count of obstruction of justice.

Clark did not have an attorney of record as of Wednesday morning.

You can reach reporter Mark Shenefelt at mshenefelt@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @mshenefelt.

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