A Montana blow molding company's president stands accused of stealing more than $21,000 from a children's club while he is under investigation by the federal government on unrelated bank fraud charges.
State prosecutors filed criminal charges July 9 in the 8th Judicial District Court in Great Falls, Mont. The case alleges that Plasnetics USA Inc. President Bill McPhail stole from Westside Little League when he was president of the league, according to court documents. The documents charge that McPhail drafted money from the Little League account in 1999 in amounts of $4,474 to $17,000. The funds allegedly were used to pay insurance for Plasnetics and as credits to the company's account.
Assistant U.S. District Attorney Carl Rostad would not disclose how much is involved in the bank fraud charges but said they involve falsified invoices.
The Little League charge for felony theft is punishable by a maximum 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. Cascade County prosecutor Brant Light said McPhail has paid back about $10,000.
``It appears he wants to take care of this as quickly as possible,'' Light said in a July 10 telephone interview. ``He's not going to fight it.''
McPhail was arrested July 9 and released on $2,500 bond, Light said. His arraignment could be held as early as July 26. McPhail's lawyer, John Smith, maintained that the business will not be affected.
``Plasnetics is McPhail,'' Smith said. ``The guy is a workaholic. He remains in control.''
Federal charges were filed in November, but the U.S. attorney's office dismissed those charges to do further investigation.
Smith acknowledged past problems but emphasized that the company is ``strong and growing.''
``Plasnetics did have financial problems during  and some Little League money did end up in Plasnetics accounts,'' he said.
But last year the company added a plant in Salt Lake City, which helped the firm triple its annual sales. Plasnetics posted 1999 sales of $7.5 million.