OMAHA, Neb.—A former vice president of an Omaha-based tire supply company is appealing his embezzlement conviction in Omaha federal district court. Patrick Harley McNaught was sentenced to two years in prison Sept. 13, nine months after being convicted on four counts of mail fraud. Judge Thomas Shanahan also ordered him to serve three years of supervised release and 150 hours of community service after his prison sentence, and to repay $61,246 to his former employer, Allied Oil and Supply Inc.
Allied Oil and federal prosecutors accused Mr. McNaught of pocketing payments from store customers to buy tires and other goods for himself, family and friends and to finance a baseball team. He then tried to cover up his theft by issuing unauthorized store credits to customers' accounts.
Mr. McNaught served as vice president of Allied Oil's Tire Division from 1991 to 1995, when his malfeasance was uncovered, the company said. Police in Sioux Falls, Iowa, where Allied has a tire distribution center, cracked the case.
The court's estimate of how much money Mr. McNaught embezzled was a major point at the sentencing, because it directly affected the length of his prison term. Neither side in the trial was happy with the $60,000 figure the court reached; Mr. McNaught claimed Allied Oil lost nothing through his actions, whereas the prosecution said he had stolen $235,000.
Under the appeals court schedule, Mr. McNaught's appeal attorneys must file his appeal brief by Dec. 29, said Mark Weber, the Omaha attorney who represented Mr. McNaught in the district court trial.
Federal attorneys then must file their answering brief in January, Mr. Weber said.
``If the appeal isn't dismissed, there will be a hearing in early February,'' he said. But, he added, Mr. McNaught is set to begin serving his sentence Nov. 15.
In a prepared statement, Allied Oil President Conrad Heinson expressed disappointment at the leniency of Mr. McNaught's sentence. ``Allied had a much greater loss than the amount determined by the court,'' he said.
A diversified company with interests in oil, lubricants and construction as well as tires, Allied Oil has tire distribution centers in Omaha; Sioux Falls; Kansas City, Mo.; Joplin, Mo.; and Des Moines, Iowa.
Allied, a franchisee of Michelin Retread Technologies Inc., specializes in large truck tires, and carries Michelin, Bridgestone and Firestone lines.
At the time Mr. McNaught worked for Allied, it also carried Monarch passenger tires on a wholesale basis, the company said.