Former Chicone's manager sentenced to prisonArea News
-- A man who scammed hundreds of thousands of dollars as manager of a Hudson liquor store has been sentenced to prison.
By: Jon Echternacht, Pierce County Herald
A man who scammed hundreds of thousands of dollars as manager of a Hudson liquor store has been sentenced to prison.
Nathan Michael Dusek, 39, Knapp, will serve two years, six months in prison and five years’ extended supervision following his sentencing hearing Friday, May 4, on conviction of felony theft in a business setting.
Dusek was convicted of stealing $381,284.75 while employed at Chicone’s Liquor Mart over a 10-year period. The criminal complaint said that between Aug. 25, 2002, and Nov. 9, 2010, Dusek falsely recorded returns of large quantities of beer and took cash for those returns from store funds.
Defense Attorney Mark Gherty argued for a sentencing to include 11 months in jail and an extended probation time. “He is married and has a family to support and made one major mistake. Is it forgivable?” asked Gherty.
Prosecutor Frank Collins called for two years in prison and extended supervision. “He had full control of the business and the till and complete trust of the owner. He repudiated that trust and surreptitiously was stealing the owner blind,” Collins argued.
The pre-sentence investigation recommended six months’ incarceration, probation and restitution.
Collins called the PSI recommendations “social work babble” that “lacked real insight of what he did.”
Judge Scott R. Needham, in handing down the sentence, said, “This is much, much, much more than a money crime. It is a crime of trust violation … a theft that extended over 10 years.
“Probation would depreciate the seriousness of the crime. It requires punishment,” the judge said.
Rick Chicone, the victim, addressed the court. He appeared with his bookkeeper, Michelle Rinehart. “For 18 years I treated him (Dusek) like family,” he said, providing insurance and a pension with his employment. “He was stealing from me for 10 years. He has no regard for the law,” he said.
Dusek expressed his “most sincere apologies” to Chicone and Rinehart. “The trust and friendship I ruined weighs heavily on me,” he said.
Testimony revealed Dusek claimed to have nothing left from the money he took and spent it on “taking trips, going out to dinner and gas.”
Collins found it incredulous. “That can’t be true,” he said.
Dusek’s motive apparently was, “I wanted my family to want for nothing and be proud of me.”
According to Judge Needham’s math, he said Dusek raked in about $38,000 a year from his ill-gotten gain. The prosecution figured restitution would have to be paid back to the tune of $7,943 a month.
Dusek was convicted of a third drunken driving offense from an Oct. 9 traffic stop in Dunn County. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail Friday morning. The sentence was to run concurrently with the felony conviction in St. Croix County.
The sentencing hearing was delayed for about 30 minutes when letters from the defendant’s family were not available to Judge Needham and had to be faxed to the court from the department of corrections.
Jon Echternacht is a reporter for the Hudson Star-Observer.