08/06/2017: "SJI Woman Pleads “Guilty,” Must Pay Back $68+k To Non-Profit SJC Community Theatre"
(Blevins awaits sentencing -Island Guardian photo
San Juan Island resident Mary K. Blevins plead guilty in Superior Court on Friday to theft in the first degree, and has to pay back of $68,073.97 she embezzled from the theatre.
However, the loss to the theatre exceeds the $68K, because so far they been unable to get back $14,000.00 Blevins was paid as part of a separation agreement, and an additional $7,000.00 in “vacation time;” both of which were paid prior to the board learning she had been stealing money from them for months; and that’s does not include the civil and criminal legal costs the board has incurred. The board started a civil suit to recover this loss, but it has yet to be resolved.
(Mary Blevins -file photo)
As for the criminal case, because she plead guilty she escaped 30 days in jail time, and instead will only serve 15 days in jail and 240 hours of “community service” instead of the full 30 days in jail.
Judge Hancock also imposed a 10 year prohibition on future employment that involved finance and handling of money; and she is required to inform any potential client she has been convicted of embezzlement.
After Judge Hancock had accepted a plea of guilty from Blevins, and after the prosecutor and the defense made short statements, he heard from any members of the public who wished to testify.
Three theatre board members and one volunteer spoke, and in no uncertain terms made it clear they felt that the amount of money Blevins had stolen, and did so repeatedly over a long period of time, and her efforts to hide the theft, was a betrayal of their trust in her, warranted a greater punishment than the no jail time and the community service the plea bargain called for. There was testimony the punishment should send a strong message to others that are, or may be, involved in theft.
Judge Hancock asked if Blevins wished to address the court. Blevins said she was “So sorry for having broken the law… and would like to apologize to the Theater and to my family and my friends.. I am so very sorry.”
Judge Hancock then took a short recess to consider the comments and review the record before returning to pronounce sentence.
On his return he stated “I have the unenviable responsibility of sentencing Mrs. Blevins in this difficult case.” Noting that “the case has an effect not only on the defendant… but on the community as a whole… there has been humiliation and betrayal..[by Blevins] as a result of the theft of $68,000.00.”
Judge Alan Hancock cited some of the items Blevins spent the money on.
According to court filings Blevins used the business credit cards of SJCT to purchase their accounting software program in her name, and used it and SJCT credit cards for personal purchases and expenses, including, but not limited to:
Personal propane bills paid to San Juan Propane for propane services at her home of William T. Blevins and the Defendant, Mary K. Blevins
Payment of the personal Federal income taxes [$2,342.92] of William T. Blevins and the Defendant, Mary K. Blevins.
Unauthorized payment of personal medical and dental expenses of William T. Blevins and the Defendant, Mary K. Blevins, including her health insurance premiums.
Murder mystery books and knitting supplies that were coded as "volunteer expenses" and "office supplies".
Women's clothing, shoes, purses, children's toys, etc., that were coded as "volunteer expenses" and "office supplies".
Payment to Evans Funeral Chapel for the cost of cremation of the remains of the deceased mother of the Defendant, Mary K. Blevins.
Personal transportation expenses including WS Ferry Pass Orcas.
He also noted that the theft was “not something that occurred in the spur of the moment, but was planned out in a substantial period of time each and every time these funds were taken; Mrs. Blevins had to know she was stealing money from the theatre. It was not a situation where a young person without education or experience in life made a single mistake… but rather someone who obviously knew better, and betrayed the trust of the San Juan Community Theatre Board, it’s officers and volunteers.”
He also noted that Blevins only showed remorse after she was found out.