There's a lot I don't track about my blog, but sometimes I do take note of the searches that bring people here. For some reason, this post about a man convicted of embezzling from the Great Falls Food Bank is attracting some traffic.
Alan Reavley's consistent stance has been that he didn't use funds from checks he cashed rather than deposit for his own benefit, that he "put the money back" most of the time. He was convicted on five counts; these counts were bargained down from an astonishing number -- 96, as I seem to recall.
The initial plea agreement recommended a 13 year sentence. District Judge Thomas McKittrick response was to look at Reavley's history -- he seems to have left a trail of embezzlement through non-profits in Great Falls -- and the crimes for which he pled guilty and to respond with a sentence of 25 years.
Reavley's first parole hearing was in December, 2007. Parole was denied; the board seemed to agree that one year per felony in this case is simply not enough. His next scheduled appeal for parole is in December, 2012, five years from the first.
More than seven years on from Reavley's sentencing, Great Falls non-profits might not have recovered from the sting of Reavley's actions. People have long memories when it comes to finding out that their charitable giving has been misappropriated.
Perhaps what is most hurtful is Reavley's stated view that pleading guilty to the five counts was the biggest mistake of his life. Seemingly he fails to acknowledge that the food bank was really hurt by his actions; the poor -- the people least able to defend themselves against injustice -- were harmed.
As far as I know (and I probably would, inasmuch as I have a google alert for his name set up for any activity on the Web), restitution has been neither made nor attempted. This is a case where if some good is being done, either by Reavley or by someone else, it should not be kept quiet. The community deserves to know if an effort is being made to restore the money that was taken.
The scenario I imagine in December, 2012 is that Reavley will give lip service to his guilt, all the while maintaining to himself his innocence. The Board will decide that eight or nine years is enough, especially if Reavley expresses contrition but perhaps even if he doesn't. For all I know, there is a formula that halves prison time for "white collar" crimes or perhaps a matrix that takes into account the convict's age (64 or 65 in this case). It doesn't seem like enough to me, but it's not my call to make.
Three things would help: honest contrition, an honest attempt at restitution, and letting the community know about both of these things. I'll try to be optimistic that these things might yet happen.