July 18 2014–WALLA WALLA — A former Walla Walla University finance professor and self-employed bookkeeper will spend time in federal prison on a charge of wire fraud in connection with the theft of more than $800,000 from a local dentist.
t of College Place was sentenced in U.S. District Court in the Tri-Cities this week to serve 18 months in prison.
Thompson taught finance at the Seventh-day Adventist university in College Place for 15 years and kept books for about 13 years for Walla Walla Dental Care owner Dr. Dan Laizure.
Thompson pleaded guilty in April and in May told the Union-Bulletin there were extenuating circumstances in the case, but did not give additional details.
The theft from Laizure was carried out by writing unauthorized checks from the dentist to himself, banks and other people in guise of insurance company refunds, according to court documents. Upon deposit, those checks electronically debited Walla Walla Dental care’s account.
In addition to his prison sentence, Thompson was ordered to pay $823,832 in restitution. Laizure is to be repaid $773,832, while $50,000 will go to Traveler’s Insurance for costs associated with Laizure’s investigation of the loss of money.
Thompson has handed over $34,000 from the sale of his home and a gold coin collection, according to court documents.
Court documents from his sentencing hearing Tuesday state Thompson will be on probation for three years following his release from prison. He will have to make all financial information available to his probation officer, including authorization to conduct credit checks and see federal income tax returns. Thompson also must disclose all financial assets and liabilities to the supervising officer, and he cannot sell or give away an asset without court approval.
As well, Thompson cannot incur any new debt, open lines of credit or enter into any financial contracts without permission from his probation officer, sentencing documents said.
Authorities may search him, his home, office or vehicle at any time during his probation, and he must complete a mental health evaluation and follow certain treatment recommendations.
Thompson has waived his right to appeal. The court recommended he serve his sentence at the federal prison in Sheridan, Ore.
Laizure said Thursday he refuses to be “bogged down” with the incident, and is looking forward.
“This is out of my hands,” the dentist said. “I have way too many things to think about for the future.”
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