Man makes plea deal in $84K theft

By John W. Goodwin Jr.


A former employee of a real-estate investment firm could spend up to 18 months in prison for stealing more than $80,000 from the company over two years.

Thomas Morris, 52, of Poland, pleaded guilty Wednesday to felony theft before Judge James C. Evans of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. Morris could be sentenced to 18 months in prison and fined up to $5,000 at his sentencing next month.

Morris was an employee at Tri T&J real- estate company until earlier this year when he was indicted on charges of stealing $84,400 from the company beginning in January 2010.

Morris pleaded guilty to the theft charge in the plea deal with prosecutors. The prosecutor’s office will recommend probation and an order of restitution, but Judge Evans is not bound by that recommendation.

Morris will be back in court for sentencing Dec. 31 after the court has reviewed a check of his background.

Brandon Davis, a part owner of the company, said the situation is disappointing, but the company would like to be repaid the stolen funds.

“Our goal from the get go has been to get our money back,” he said. “Anytime you have someone working for you, there is an element of trust you have to have, and when that trust is betrayed, you are disappointed.”

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