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Judge sentences embezzler to jail, probation

A third embezzlement case in as many months came before district court Thursday.District Court Judge Dan Petre sentenced Beverly Parkerson to 60 days in jail and five years of probation for stealing from her employer, Agenda West of Carbondale, which provides meeting planning for the health care industry. Parkerson was also ordered to pay $35,975.95 in restitution.In February, Cheryl Dunlap was sentenced to 75 days in jail and 15 years of probation for embezzling more than $200,000 from Glenwood Springs orthodontist John Traul. Donna Matthews pleaded not guilty to theft in March for allegedly stealing $14,500 from the Fraternal Order of Eagles in Glenwood Springs. She will stand trial in August.Parkerson’s restitution amount is less than she stole, according to one of the Agenda West owners, Kim Rogers. However, she and her partners, working with Assistant District Attorney Vince Felletter, who prosecuted the case, agreed to the amount because Parkerson said she could pay the stolen money back when she sells her house.”It’s a lower amount than what the prosecution wanted, but this is the amount she’s able to pay,” Felletter said.The prosecution had sought restitution totaling $49,000.Rogers spoke to Petre before he handed down his sentence.”For myself and my two partners, it’s incredibly important that justice be served here so she is not able to do this to other companies,” she said. “Our business is in the process of being dissolved” partly because of Parkerson’s actions.Parkerson also must undergo a mental health evaluation.While employed as an accountant at Agenda West, Parkerson transferred funds from the company to her own business, ABServices, between October 2002 and April 2003.Parkerson pleaded guilty to the charge in March.For her part, Parkerson told Petre that she has a problem with stealing.”There’s something wrong with me, and I don’t know what it is. I’ve had a problem with kleptomania and stealing in the past. I do need to be on some kind of depression drug,” she said.In an earlier sentencing Thursday, Weslie Gates, convicted of first-degree assault with a deadly weapon, was ordered to serve five years in the Department of Corrections.On Dec. 8, Gates followed a woman after she got off the RFTA bus on Main Street in Carbondale. He held a knife to her throat and made a superficial cut, then fled. Police captured him shortly thereafter, Felletter said.Felletter said Gates grew up in Ohio and made his first appearance in juvenile court at 10 years old, and was in and out of detention centers and kicked out of foster care. An Ohio court ordered him to move to Colorado to live with his mother. In 2002, he was before the juvenile court in Garfield County. Gates, Felletter went on to say, was expelled from Roaring Fork High School for selling drugs to students. He has a ninth-grade education.”The fact is he’s spent almost his entire life since 10 in the system,” he said. “Everything has been done to try to help this defendant.”Gates’ public defender, Jamie Roth, said her client was unable to remember anything about the assault. “He is unable to explain or understand what he did,” she said. “I don’t know what Mr. Gates was doing that night. I don’t think he meant to do anything more than startle this young lady.”She also said Gates struggles “to find his way.””Mr. Gates has profound emotional and substance abuse problems. He is not a predator.”Petre also apparently struggled with his decision. “It’s hard not to look at this situation and not be touched, and a little frustrated; touched by the fact that someone should not have to worry about being accosted, touching because (Gates) has not caught a lot of breaks in his growing-up years.”To the defendant he said, “Mr. Gates, when you held that knife to that person’s throat you became a person this community has to be protected from.”


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