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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Montgomery guilty plea results in probation

Monday, October 8, 2012

Former Clay Central-Everly Superintendent Monte Montgomery pleaded guilty to a class C felony charge of first degree theft Monday in the Clay County Courthouse and began a three-year probation.

District 3A Judge Patrick M. Carr gave Montgomery a suspended sentence of up to 10 years in prison, a $1,000 fine and $350 surcharge. Montgomery will not be required to serve prison time or pay that fine and surcharge as long as he complies with the terms of the sentence, which includes paying court fees and restitution to the district.

"You will obey all laws," Carr told Montgomery. "You will secure and maintain employment. You are restricted to residence in Iowa. You must make contact with your supervising agent and pay a probation supervision fee."

Montgomery's restitution to the CC-E school district is $15,852.94, which is the difference between the $26,046.35 he has already paid the district and the $41,844.36 in misappropriated funds an Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation report linked to the district credit card issued in his name. That report found nearly $103,000 in improper or unsupported school budget disbursements, including nearly $48,000 in misappropriations between July 1, 2005 and Nov. 30, 2010.

"Is it true that in the course of your employment with the Clay Central-Everly school district, you were lawfully in possession of a credit card in your name? You were authorized to make purchases for the school, correct? You were not to make purchases for yourself, correct? There were times you made purchases the district did not authorize, correct?" Carr asked.

Montgomery answered, "Yes," to each question.

"This is a non-standard way of committing theft," Carr continued, noting Montgomery "didn't take property from the school and take it home."

He called Montgomery's crime "theft by misappropriation."

Carr's sentence followed the recommendations of a pre-sentence investigation.

"The question is, any time you have an ongoing crime continuing over five years and resulting in $41,864 in theft, should that person be on probation?" Clay County Attorney Mike Houchins asked. "He has paid $26,046.35 back in restitution. He does have the support of his family, education and no criminal history. His opportunity to work and pay back restitution is in the best interest of the state.

"With regard to a fine, due to Mr. Montgomery's current financial situation, his money would be better spent on restitution," Houchins continued.

He recommended three years of probation based on Montgomery's level of cooperation and the "serious consequences" he has faced.

"On Sept. 12, Mr. Montgomery waived his right to a hearing with the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners to revoke his license," Houchins said. "He'll never teach again."

When given the right of elocution, Montgomery declined to speak.

"I'm urging you to invest yourself in the rules of your probation," Carr said. "I wish you and everyone else in this sorry situation the best of luck, including the patrons of the school district."

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Moral of the story -- Make sure you have a college degree, especially a master's degree before you rob a business blind. That way you'll only have to pay back exactly what you stole at 0% interest over the two years you "borrowed" it with no prison time, just 3 years of probabation --- wow!! At least he'll never teach again, there's some small consolation in that.

Great example for your kids, Monte -- get a good "liar" (lawyer), make sure you drag everything out at least a couple of years to bog down the judicial system and basically get off with a light wrist slap. I'm sure this will be one to tell the grandkids -- "Look what I was able to pull off"!!

-- Posted by letthecircusunfold on Mon, Oct 8, 2012, at 9:52 PM

First, although it would be more satisfying to see him sit in jail for a bit for his actions, it does make sense that he should be more able to make restitution if he is able to hold a job. However, its unfortunate that out of the over $100,000 attributed to his dishonesty, he is only required to pay $41,000 back. As letthecircusunfold said, that's pretty good terms for a loan of that size from the school district...

I used to wonder at people who committed crimes like this- how did they think they'd get away with it in the end? Was it really worth it to have some extra money and "stuff" to risk judicial punishment? (And so on...) I finally understand- what's the risk? You have to eventually repay what you've stolen (at 0% interest)? You get away with more that couldn't be proved and DON'T have to pay that back? You have to consider moving out of the area (not that he has) because your reputation is damaged? A positive is that he'll never work in a school district again, so some other poor schmucks don't have to deal with this situation. I'm sure he's heartbroken over that...

-- Posted by notinia on Mon, Oct 8, 2012, at 10:53 PM

Maybe it is time for a new County Attorney!

-- Posted by olmanhawk on Tue, Oct 9, 2012, at 7:35 AM

I know someone who wrote a bad check to the person who painted their house back in 2000. This was the wrong thing to do. It was something like they had already paid the $700 deposit and the house was painted, then they were unsatisfied with the job (they had not completely scraped the house, then sprayed over the electric meter and done other items of careless work) and knew the check they were writing to him for the balance, to get him to stop pounding on their door every night was worthless. Wrong, wrong in every way wrong.

Arrested, booked, charged, convicted of Theft 2nd. Restitution, probation AND imposition of punitive damages and court fees ensued. Was free from all of that by 2004 never to be in trouble again as far as I know.

Yet is still basically unemployable because of that one incident 12 years ago even after doing everything right in that regard ever since and staying on the right side of the law. Because no longer is it "have you been convicted of a felony in the last seven years" but "have you ever been arrested for anything besides a minor traffic violation ever?" or something similar.

This was also in a different part of the state with a different DA and judge. I'm not sure if that makes a difference or anything. It's not that what happened was in any way not a crime for which they should be punished and at the very least pay full restitution (and in this case they did pay interest on it!), it's a matter of proportion.

I know of numerous similar cases, where a person who had a public defender gets the book thrown at them or gets convinced that having a lifelong felony on the record is the best they can do, and it ruins their lives. I'm not even saying some public defenders don't do their best, but many phone it in or take one look at the client and say, "It's not happening. You're doomed."

-- Posted by AmyPeterson on Wed, Oct 10, 2012, at 10:11 AM

Amy, I've read over your post twice now, and I'm not getting your point as it relates to this news story. Are you saying Montgomery wasn't punished as severely as your friend? That a public defender did not do their job? Please clarify.

-- Posted by notinia on Wed, Oct 10, 2012, at 10:50 AM

I freely admit I might have gotten off track in trying to explain the whole story. I was not casting aspersions on the public defender in either case, but was, in fact, saying that it does seem to be the more educated and might we say privileged who get off easier than those who are less so. It's not to scorn someone for being more educated or privileged, but rather to say should they not be held to a higher standard, rather than a lower one?

-- Posted by AmyPeterson on Wed, Oct 10, 2012, at 1:32 PM

White collar crime= white collar punishment.....sad indeed.

-- Posted by lastsonofoa on Wed, Oct 10, 2012, at 3:15 PM

Perhaps Mr. Montgomery used the "Steve Martin" defense...

~ Two simple words in the English language: "I forgot!" How many times do we let ourselves get into terrible situations because we don't say "I forgot"? Let's say you're on trial for armed robbery. You say to the judge, "I forgot armed robbery was illegal." Let's suppose he says back to you, "You have committed a foul crime, you have stolen hundreds and thousands of dollars from people at random, and you say, 'I forgot'?" Two simple words: Excuuuuuse me!!" ~ Steve Martin, SNL

-- Posted by Dennis the Menace on Sat, Oct 13, 2012, at 9:34 AM

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