The restitution hearing for Danelda Franks who allegedly defrauded the Colorado Boys Ranch YouthConnect between $500,000 and $1 million reached its conclusion Tuesday afternoon.
After two lengthy presentations by both the prosecution and defense, the latter of which was led by attorney Casey Irwin, District Court Judge Michael Schiferl ordered both sides to submit to him a spreadsheet within 10 days of what each side believes is owed.
“Don’t walk away thinking you won't have to pay it back,” Schiferl said during his closing statements.
Even though he said he doesn’t believe she will be able to pay back the full amount of restitution, which is still to be determined, Shiferl said that the law still expects her to pay it back and if she fails to make an effort to do so, her probation could be revoked.
Ranch officials have stood steadfast in alleging that Franks stole $1 million from 2012-18. Their argument began on Dec. 17, thanks to the expertise of Joshua Harrison, who is a Certified Fraud Examiner.
Harrison began examining financial records including bank statements, quickbooks accounts and ADP records for the ranch in March 2019. At the end of his investigation, he condluced that she had defrauded them of $1 million.
He alleged that she did so in a variety of different ways, the first of which was writing out checks to herself using a signature stamp and recording it as a business expense in the books. In 2012, he said that the amounts taken were smaller and sporadic, but as the years rolled on, the amounts grew in size.
At first, he said, the checks were around $1,000 totaling to around $8,000 for the year. But by the time 2015-16 came around, the total amount grew to around $25,000 for 2015, $65,000 in 2016, $97,000 in 2017 and $94,0000 in 2018.
He also spoke about discrepancies in her mileage reimbursement and hours worked through records in ADP. For mileage reimbursement, he said that she received anout $116,150 over the course of four years.
“A bookkeeper wouldn’t be asked to travel,” Harrison said.
And after a conversation with the chairman of the Boys Ranch board, Mike Sanders, it didn't appear as though she was asked to travel. He also said that one red flag that stood out to him was mileage reimbursement of $4,500.
“You would have to drive across the country and back to receive that kind of mileage,” he said.
Another red flag that stood out to Harrison was the amount of hours she recorded working, which for one work period came out to be 381 hours, and another which marked 270 hours. He said that overall, using this method, she took around $412,000.
Harrison next looked at the money taken through the use of a company debit and credit card, which the Boys Ranch alleged she wasn’t authorized to use. He said that it appeared that she made numerous personal purchases from places such as Sonic, Loaf'N Jug and Walmart with the card with the total amount coming out to around $24,000.
During cross-examination byIrwin, he pointed out that there were plenty of apparent duplicate entries in Harrison's report that increased the total owed. Harrison believed that this was due to a formatting glitch when he printed the sheet out and corrected the record.
After the fix, it appeared as though that, due to the glitch, the number was increased by $8,418. Next for the defense was attributing some of the money allegedly taken to Christmas bonuses over three years. Franks said that CBRYC President Chuck Thompson agreed to pay employees $50 per year they worked at the boys ranch for her bonus.
Franks also defended herself against some of the mileage reimbursement and hours worked overcharges by claiming that Thompson agreed to pay employees $15 in mileage if they lived 30 miles from work which she did. As for the hours worked overcharge, she said that sick and vacation time were paid out if not used at the end of employment.
In 2018, she said that she was moved to part time and received pay for the sick and vacation time she never used. For the credit and debit cards, she refuted the claim from the ranch that she wasn’t authorized to use a card.
She said that when her supervisor left and she took his old position, she was put in charge of a card that the ranch has used since 1983. The ranch also stated that there were only four people authorized to have a company card. However, she said, many other individuals had a company card when she worked there.
She also claimed that a lot of the charges on the card were business expenses that Thompson had approved her to make, such as buying lunch for workers at Wallace Oil, dinner for herself, Thompson and other acquaintances, gift cards, etc.
To counter that point, the prosecution asked what evidence she had to back up her claims. She claimed that all of her points could be backed up by her personnel file that the ranch allegedly has.
Lastly she argued that money she could’ve given the Boys Ranch through the sale of her animals should be taken off the money she owes. Franks said that she would have sold her animals for around $84,000 if the ranch's attorney and her own didn’t make her give them to a wildlife sanctuary.