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Trustee Pleads Not Guilty to Grand Theft

Moorpark school board member is accused of misappropriation of funds by his former employer. Efforts are on to reach a settlement.

August 12, 2003|Gregory W. Griggs | Times Staff Writer

Moorpark school board member Chris Evans pleaded not guilty Monday to a felony charge of grand theft, stemming from allegations that he misappropriated money from his former employer and customers.

Evans, 45, is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing Aug. 21 in Van Nuys Superior Court. He remains free on $20,000 bail.

The lawyer representing the former Moorpark city councilman said he is working to settle the dispute, but negotiations have stalled over the amount of the loss incurred by Evan's former employer, ProSource Wholesale Floorcovering. "It's been a little difficult to come to an agreement on the numbers, so we've decided to go ahead," said Alan Baum of Chase Law Group in Studio City. "It will give ProSource a chance to come to court and present its documentation and for me to question it."

The company alleges it lost more than $60,000 in profits and direct costs because of Evans' actions when he worked as a district manager in North Hollywood for ProSource.

That figure does not include $4,200 that Evans has repaid the company, prosecutors said.

When the felony charge was filed in June, an estimated loss of about $12,000 was linked to six checks, three of which were written to Evans' consulting company for money owed to ProSource. At the time, Baum said his client had permission to process certain carpet orders through his private company.

But when Evans fell behind in his regular payments to ProSource, his employer became suspicious and contacted police.

A subsequent accounting by Texas-based ProSource placed the loss at $60,104, which includes a claim for about $15,000 in investigative costs.

"They've put a lot of what we believe are inappropriate charges in there," Baum said. "We just need to sort it out."

Deputy Dist. Atty. Dan Bershin said the defense insists the disputed amount is approximately $27,000.

"As long as there's a dispute about the restitution, we'll let the court decide," Bershin said. After the hearing, "we'll have a better idea whether it's closer to the $27,000 or $55,000."

If Evans is convicted and the company's loss is determined to be $50,000 or more, he faces up to four years in prison. Depending on how much restitution is paid, however, he could receive probation or a shorter jail sentence.

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