Friday, January 11, 2008

Ketchum inn manager imprisoned for embezzling

Todd convicted of stealing more than $57,000 from Clarion

Express Staff Writer

James Lloyd Todd

A former manager of the Ketchum Clarion Inn has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for embezzling more than $57,000.

Sentence was imposed Monday in Blaine County 5th District Court on 58-year-old James Lloyd Todd, who was convicted of stealing the money while he managed the Clarion from June 2003 through December 2006. Todd remained in the Blaine County Jail on Thursday awaiting transport to the Idaho State Penitentiary near Boise.

He must serve four years in prison before he is eligible for parole. Todd was given credit for 166 days already spent behind bars.

Judge Robert J. Elgee explained at sentencing that he imposed a harsh sentence because Todd has a history of stealing money. Court records state he has a prior felony theft conviction in Kentucky and spent three years previously in prison.

Prosecuting Attorney Jim Thomas told the court that investigators found evidence that suggested Todd actually embezzled about $100,000 from the Clarion and its owner, Peter Lewis, but explained that the prosecution was only able to prove theft of $57,083.96. Todd pleaded guilty to the charge last November.

Court records state that Todd embezzled the money by taking checks written either to the Clarion or Lewis and depositing them in his own personal bank account.

Lewis, who testified at sentencing, described Todd as a "thief and a con man."

Todd's conviction closes a case that started in May 2006 when Ketchum police detectives began an investigation into missing checks from the Clarion.

Detective R. Scott Manning wrote in a probable-cause affidavit that Todd initially claimed he had deposited Clarion checks into his own bank account by accident.

Todd was arrested in June in Twin Falls. Court records state he was living with his 17-year-old son at the Port of Hope homeless shelter.

Todd leaves behind two other children, a 10-year-old son and an 18-year-old daughter who has a 1-year-old child of her own.

Public defender Cheri Hicks requested that the court place Todd on probation so he could take care of his children and could work to pay back the money he was convicted of stealing.

"The youngest son is extremely upset at all of this," Hicks told the court.

She further explained that the boy is now living with a teacher in the Blaine County School District. She said the older boy has been taken into custody by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare and that Todd's daughter is "impoverished" and on state aid.

Hicks described her client as an armed forces veteran who has a college degree.

She further said that Todd was going through a divorce at the time he embezzled the money and was trying to impress a "new young girlfriend."

Elgee replied that the case was not about the children but about the crime and its consequences.

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