By Patrick Winderl/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
The former executive director of the Havre Day Activity Center must pay $7,500 in restitution for stealing from the center.
Gary Nimmick, 53, of Havre was sentenced Monday after pleading guilty to two misdemeanor theft charges and one misdemeanor attempted theft charge under a plea agreement with prosecutors.
District Judge John Warner sentenced him to one year in jail for each of the three charges, to run concurrently, and then suspended the sentences.
The state deferred prosecution on a felony theft charge in exchange for the guilty pleas. That means he won't be prosecuted if he remains law-abiding for four years.
Havre Day Activity is a nonprofit corporation that operates five private group homes for more than 40 developmentally disabled adults.
Nimmick was fired as director of the center on Oct. 18, 2001, following a state Department of Justice investigation. He had worked there for 28 years.
Nimmick admitted he was guilty of attempted theft by placing a $3,200 refund check to the center from a farm implement company into his personal account on Aug. 8, 2001. Two months later he returned the funds following an interview with a Justice Department investigator.
Nimmick also pleaded guilty to using utility services from the activity center for washing machines he owned, and by replacing the center's 1998 flatbed trailer with his personal trailer, a 1993 model. Nimmick acknowledged he took the newer model for personal use. The loss to the center was estimated to be less than $500.
The felony charge stemmed from allegations that Nimmick claimed reimbursement for phony travel.
Nimmick's travel vouchers were audited by Elmer Venne, who works for the Montana Department of Health and Human Services. Venne determined that Nimmick claimed travel, lodging and per diem expenses for meetings that were not held, or for meetings he did not attend, the charging document said.
Venne concluded that Nimmick made $6,071 in faulty claims between July 1, 2000, and July 1, 2001, according to the document.
Nimmick was originally charged with five counts of felony theft on July 16. Prosecutors later amended the charges to three misdemeanors and one felony.
The Justice Department investigation concluded that Nimmick charged the nonprofit corporation more than $10,000 over a three-year period for snow-removal services. According to the charging document, Nimmick used a personal vehicle to perform the service, and also charged the center for gas and maintenance for the vehicle, totaling nearly $3,000.
State investigators checked weather records and determined that on some dates Nimmick claimed to have removed snow, Havre received only trace amounts of moisture, the document said. Nimmick continued to receive his regular salary for the days he claimed to be plowing, the document said.
Havre Day Activity was billed $915.95 for two personal trips Nimmick made to Bozeman to purchase laundry machines, according to the document and that some of the machines were used in Highland Park Laundromat, which Nimmick owns.
Other machines were sold to the activity center and placed in an assisted-living facility where residents were charged for using the them, the document said. Nimmick told investigators that he received more than $2,000 from machines he owned that were placed in the facility.
When family of the residents complained about the arrangement, Nimmick told them "that the clients would have to take their laundry to a laundromat and pay for it anyway, so he didn't think it was too much to ask them to pay for their use at the facility," the document said.
Investigators found Nimmick also billed Havre Day Activity $11,107 for mileage reimbursement over a three-year period, in addition to $2,665 for maintenance to his personal pickup, the charging document said.
Dale Boespflug replaced Nimmick as executive director of the center. He declined to comment today.
Havre Day Activity this week received a three-year accreditation with the Council on Quality and Leadership.
The council is a worldwide organization that is responsible for developing quality indicators and standards for services for people with disabilities. According to a press release from Havre Day Activity, the accreditation ensures accountability to service users and provides assurances to funders that community resources are used efficiently.