Former Casper Car Wash Manager Admits Embezzlement
A man who had been set to stand trial Monday on allegations that he, in five years as general manager of a Casper car wash, embezzled over $234,000, instead pleaded guilty to two felony charges.
Travis Leroy Wilson, 30, pleaded guilty before Natrona County District Court Judge Thomas Sullins to one count each of theft and larceny by bailee. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Natrona County District Attorney Mike Blonigen told K2 Radio News on Monday that applicable state statute changed in 2013, in the middle of Wilson's embezzlement, which occurred from 2011 to 2016. As such, Wilson was charged with two separate counts in order to cover his actions both before and after the change in state law.
The embezzlement was a single course of conduct, Blonigen said, and due to sentencing law, Wilson realistically will face no more than 10 years in prison.
No recommendation of a reduced sentence was offered to Wilson in exchange for his guilty plea, Blonigen said, meaning Wilson could face the maximum sentence.
Blonigen declined comment on whether he would ask for a prison sentence in the case, saying he wants to examine the presentence investigation report first.
In addition to detailing sentencing considerations such as any criminal history Wilson may have, any likelihood that he may be successful in completing probation and other factors, that report will address Wilson's means to pay restitution in the case.
It's "an awfully significant amount of money" in question, Blonigen said, and he expects Wilson's defense attorney to contest the amount of restitution requested at sentencing.
Court documents say Wilson worked as general manager of Cowboy Auto Spa on CY Avenue and, from August 2011 through August 2016, Wilson stole $234,763.92 from the business.
A co-owner told investigators that Wilson was the only one with full access to the business's finances and systems.
The state alleged that Wilson reversed a total of 16,972 car washes over those five years. When he went to deposit the day's revenue in the bank, Wilson would remove the money from the reversed car washes and take it for himself.
A Casper police detective found that Wilson frequently made deposits of roughly $300 between paydays. The money missing from the car wash business during that period also was usually within the range of $300.
A sentencing date has not yet been set, but Blonigen expects it to occur within six to eight weeks.