Judge approves settlement agreement in Eagleson caseIn Stutsman County Southeast District Court Thursday, Mark Eagleson, former co-owner and general manager of Maverick Meats, pleaded guilty to theft of more than $25,000 from the business between July 2002 and May 2004. The charge is a Class B felony.
By: Jackie Hyra, The Jamestown Sun
In Stutsman County Southeast District Court Thursday, Mark Eagleson, former co-owner and general manager of Maverick Meats, pleaded guilty to theft of more than $25,000 from the business between July 2002 and May 2004. The charge is a Class B felony.
Judge Mikal Simonson approved a settlement agreement between the parties sentencing Eagleson to 10 years supervised probation, $63,000 restitution and $725 in court costs. Eagleson received a deferred imposition, meaning that if he completes all conditions of his sentence he will not have a permanent felony record.
A Class B felony is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
State’s Attorney Fritz Fremgen said Brian Amundson and Eagleson formed Maverick Meats as a partnership and bought Dakota Country Meats from Fred and Kay Eagleson in 2001. Prior to the purchase, Kay Eagleson had kept the books for Dakota Country Meats, and the cash register tape was always checked by two people at the end of each day. Mark Eagleson said in court that as manager of Maverick Meats he did not always have a clerk check the cash register tapes against the money in the till with him. He admitted throwing out authentic cash register tapes and replacing them with false tapes. He also admitted endorsing checks to the business in his own name and taking the cash for personal use.
Eagleson said his mother, Kay Eagleson, continued to keep the books for Maverick Meats but had no idea anything was wrong because he gave her false receipts making it appear that the cash register tape and the money in the till balanced at the end of each business day.
After the hearing, Amundson said in mid-May 2004, the day after $300 cash was missing from the till, Eagleson left town without contacting him. That was the first indication he had that anything was wrong, and he thought it was a minor amount until Capt. Gary Peterson of the Jamestown Police Department, who investigated the theft, advised him to have an audit done.
Rene and associates conducted the audit and found approximately $97,000 unaccounted for. Eagleson said he didn’t know how much money he’d taken but admitted to at least $25,000. He said he agreed to the higher restitution because “I feel I did something wrong.”
Fremgen said the state settled on $63,000 restitution as a middle ground and “to avoid a long restitution battle in court.” Eagleson is working on out-of-state jobs for a contractor and agreed to pay the restitution at a minimum of $400 each month. Fremgen said his probation may be lessened if he pays the money back sooner, but he must remain on supervised probation a minimum of two years.
Amundson said he and his family are comfortable with the arrangement.
“I’m glad it’s done,” he said. “It took a long time.”
Amundson said when Eagleson left in 2004 the business had “maxed out” its credit. He said he was “blessed with some really good employees” and helpful family members and was able to keep Maverick Meats operational until May 2007. By then he had paid off all creditors and his employees had found new jobs when he was approached to sell the building.
“My family, we were basically ranchers and farmers and that was an investment for us,” he said. “We just didn’t have time to run the business effectively.”
On advice from his attorney, Eagleson did not comment after the hearing.
Sun reporter Jackie Hyra can be reached at (701) 952-8455
or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org