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Man charged with stealing $14,000 pleads guilty to embezzlement

Matthew C. Donegan was given suspended sentence, probation

August 10, 2010|By DON AINES

A West Virginia man charged with stealing about $14,000 from his Williamsport, Md., employer pleaded guilty Tuesday in Washington County Circuit Court to a misdemeanor embezzlement charge and received a suspended prison sentence.

Matthew C. Donegan, 38, of 252 Talisman Drive in Martinsburg, was given a three-year suspended sentence and was placed on probation for two years, with the first six months supervised, by Circuit Judge W. Kennedy Boone III.

"It's to your credit you fessed up and made restitution. This isn't chump change," Boone told Donegan.

In exchange for his plea, four charges of theft of $1,000 to $10,000 and a charge of theft scheme of $10,000 to $100,000 against Donegan were dismissed, Assistant State's Attorney Brett Wilson said.

Donegan was charged in November 2009 with pocketing cash from residential rent payments he collected for Bowman Development Corp., according to the application for statement of charges in the case filed by the Washington County Sheriff's Office. The four payments ranged from $1,500 to $8,133.79, the application said.

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Owner Todd Bowman told investigators in November 2009 that he noticed in October that some payments were late and had not been deposited, the application for statement of charges said. Bowman checked with the tenants, who told him they had paid Donegan, the application said.

Donegan offered to write a check to cover some of the missing money, but it was returned for insufficient funds, the application said.

After his father passed away a few years ago, Donegan "began to drink and drink heavily," his attorney, John P. Corderman, told Boone. That led Donegan to become angry because he felt he was not appreciated at his job, even though he was both appreciated and well-compensated, Corderman said.

"This was not a brilliant scheme by any stretch of the imagination," Corderman told Boone, adding that he believed Donegan "wanted to get caught."

Corderman told Boone that Donegan, who worked for Bowman Development Corp. for about 13 years, paid restitution to the company a few months ago, borrowing the money from family and friends.

The victims were not seeking a prison sentence for Donegan "based on their compassion and knowledge of the defendant," Wilson said.

"I have learned that humility is a necessary tool for all human beings to mature," Donegan told Boone. "The Bowmans were nothing but good to me."

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