CLEARFIELD – Three people involved in a scheme to take money from a local business pleaded guilty Tuesday during sentencing court.
Richard Lee Gearhart, 45, was said to be the mastermind behind the idea, which involved Jessica Lee Dunworth, 43, of Clearfield, who was employed by Novey’s Recycling in Clearfield.
The plan involved forging slips for scrap metal being brought to the facility by Gearhart, Damian Goho, 40, of Clearfield and Jerry Goho, 20, also of Clearfield, for reportedly more money than their items were worth.
The total amount taken is estimated to be $2,174.70.
In July, Gearhart was sentenced to state prison.
In court Tuesday, Mike Boal, operations manager for Novey’s, addressed the court saying he was fine with the plea agreements for Jerry Goho and Dunworth, who he described as “a trusted employee” and who was “honest” when she was asked about the crimes.
She cooperated, giving investigators information on the others involved in the conspiracy.
Jerry Goho is “young” and he hoped he had learned something from this, Boal said.
But Boal questioned why Damian Goho was only pleading to a disorderly conduct charge with a penalty of fines and costs.
Boal explained they have photos of him indicating he was involved as much as anyone else and stating his plea was “like a slap on the hand.”
President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman asked Boal if he would be happier if Damian Goho pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft with a probation sentence. Boal agreed.
Damian Goho also addressed the court, apologizing but stating he was only in the vehicle and “had nothing to do with it.” However, he did agree to the judge’s offer.
Damian Goho was then given two years probation for misdemeanor theft by deception.
Dunworth pleaded guilty to the same charge with the same sentence. She must pay restitution of $1,087.36.
Jerry Goho also pleaded to theft with two years probation. He was ordered to pay $543.68 in restitution.
When he was sentenced in July, Gearhart received a term of 11 months to four years in state prison for one felony count of conspiracy/theft by deception
According to the affidavit of probable cause, in September of 2022, the owner contacted police to report an employee was altering the pay slips so “her friends” received more money than expected.
The owner noticed a large amount of money being taken out every time specific people brought anything into the business. He identified them as Gearhart and the Goho’s.
After reviewing security footage, he determined that it was Dunworth, who was altering the slips.
He was able to provide police with receipts from seven different occasions. The receipts were checked with the time stamped security footage in which the owner could see that there were more items listed for recycling on the receipts than the men were actually dropping off.
During one of the transactions, the slip showed tin, lead, copper pipe and copper wire, but in the video, the Goho’s had only brought in some tin and lead. They were paid almost $400 for the additional items.
The other slips were reportedly altered in a similar manner, adding high-cost items that did not exist.
When the owner spoke with Dunworth, she admitted she “was involved in a conspiracy with writing slips that were over” what was supplied and apologized.
Photos and receipts provided to police showed the items at the weigh station, which did not match what was listed on the receipts.
In the photos, they could also see Gearhart at the weighing station talking to Dunworth.
On Sept. 27, 2022, Dunworth was interviewed by police.
She explained that this was all Gearhart’s idea after he discovered she was working at Novey’s.
Initially, she was told she would get part of the money, but she never got any.
The “scheme” was reportedly that Gearhart would come up to Dunworth and ask her to put extra material on the receipt and the Goho’s collected the money.
She stated she was unaware how much was actually stolen.
In a written statement, Dunworth says Gearhart asked her to “help him out.” She said no at first, but he kept asking so she did it. He wouldn’t answer her calls afterwards so she never received any money.
She reportedly apologized and offered to pay the money back to the business.