Valley Lumber worker guilty of embezzlement

Bigelow is company's second employee convicted of theft

Posted: Thursday, July 20, 2000

A second defendant has been found guilty of embezzlement from Valley Sentry Lumber.

Brad Marcellus Bigelow, 30, of Juneau, was found guilty of second-degree theft June 23 at a hearing in Juneau District Court after a hearing before Magistrate John W. Sivertsen Jr.

Second-degree theft refers to property or services valued at $500 or more and less than $25,000. It is a class C felony, for which the maximum penalty is five years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

``It's part of the on-going'' prosecution of embezzlers, said Dan Graves, general manager and part owner of Valley Lumber.

Bigelow has worked for the company for about 10 years, and his title is sales manager, Graves said today.

Bigelow's attorney, Michael O'Brien, said there are at least two additional defendants charged with embezzlement from Valley Lumber. Both are charged with class C felonies.

``They are not co-defendants in the sense that they participated in concert with Bigelow,'' O'Brien said Tuesday, but each is alleged to have committed thefts of $500 or more.

Former Valley Lumber employee James House has already been sentenced. He pleaded no contest to a charge of second-degree theft July 12, and was sentenced to 30 days in jail, three years' probation and must pay restitution of $3,265.74.

An affidavit filed by Assistant District Attorney Susan McLean on May 15 alleges Bigelow fraudulently transferred Valley Lumber money to his personal debit card or credit card beginning in July 1997 and ending in January 2000.

Graves stated in the affidavit that ``the defendant, whom he described as his right-hand man, had been assisting him in uncovering fraudulent debit card transfers of Valley Lumber Co. money by three other employees or former employees. Graves said he found several other credits to bank debit cards not involving the other employees.''

Bigelow made 16 or 17 separate transactions totaling $25,927.555, the affidavit stated. The money was transferred from Valley Lumber to Bigelow's personal accounts, it said.

When questioned by Officer Ken Jennings of the Juneau Police Department, Bigelow confessed his guilt, according to the affidavit. He told Jennings he had gone through a divorce and had financial problems.

According to court records, Bigelow was remarried in 1999. Magistrate Sivertsen released him on his own recognizance on June 23, on conditions he not leave town and stay in touch with his attorney.

Reached Tuesday at Valley Lumber where he is still employed, Bigelow said, ``I have no comment about this whole thing.''

McLean said she did not know the names of the remaining defendants. Prosecuting attorney in the case, David Brower, who does know the names, is on vacation and could not be reached for comment.

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