Embezzler who claimed to be reformed sentenced for stealing again

A federal judge on Friday sentenced a former Gig Harbor business executive who admitted embezzling more than $500,000 from his employer to nearly six years in prison.

Dale N. Frantz, 46, previ- ously pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.

He admitted defrauding Tacoma-based Auto Warehousing Co. between 2007 and 2009 by requesting reimbursements for materials and services never provided to the company.

Frantz was the company’s chief information officer and was authorized to obtain equipment and other items for the company using his own money, then seek reimbursement.

“His motivation was pure greed,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Woods wrote in a sentencing memorandum. “It is apparent that Frantz suffers from a lack of moral direction.”

Federal probation officers recommended a sentence of eight years.

Frantz previously was convicted of embezzling from a prior employer in Indiana but convinced Auto Warehousing that he was a changed man in 1998, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle.

He built a reputation for innovation while working at the company and granted interviews to trade journals and spoke at conventions. It all came crashing down last year when an audit discovered the embezzlement.

In a letter to U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Bryan, Frantz took responsibility for his conduct and apologized to Auto Warehousing and his family.

“My name is Dale Frantz, and I am a thief,” he wrote.

Frantz said he’s had trouble with stealing “most of my adult life.”

“I’ve never understood why I have the compulsions to steal in times of economic distress rather than to seek out other alternatives,” he wrote.

Frantz said he’s been getting help from a forensic psychologist since he was fired by Auto Warehousing.

Frantz’s attorney, Brett Purtzer of Tacoma, recommended a sentence of 37 to 46 months, saying Frantz had accepted responsibility for his crime.

Bryan handed down a sentence of five years, 11 months, at the federal courthouse in Tacoma. “This was not just a serious offense, it was a series of serious offenses,” the judge said.