The Utah Board of Pardons has given convicted con man William John Clark a 1990 parole date after hearing with evident cynicism his vow to go straight.
Clark, 57, was sentenced to zero to five years for running a television advertising scam in the Salt Lake area. He solicited money from Salt Lake businesses last year, promising them television promotions. He paid for television time with checks from closed accounts and left town.Clark has a history of adult arrests, including fraud and larceny, that date to 1949. He has served prison time in Colorado and was on probation from Texas courts while defrauding people in Utah.
But during his parole hearing Wednesday, Clark said it had been "a long, painful process" but he has learned his lesson and "finally matured."
Board member Paul Boyden, who said Clark is known by police as "the con man's con man," told the convict that "talk is cheap - what we do here is based on actions."
Clark countered that his prison progress includes taking a money-management class and teaching a class to young prison offenders. He gave board members a large stack of documents and letters to peruse and said he has sent letters to all his "creditors to find out how much they are owed."
"I want to satisfy every dime," Clark said. "It's a moral obligation and a very important one. I can't live with myself when people get hurt."
Board Chairwoman Victoria Palacios seemed unconvinced, telling Clark she now knows "exactly what your victims felt like. You've given us quite a spiel here."
"It's not a spiel," Clark protested. "I've come to the realization that there is no satisfaction in getting away with things and breaking the law. It's no miracle cure, but I'm sincere when I say I'm not going to commit any more crime. I'm just not going to do it."
The board ruled Clark will be paroled Dec. 11, 1990, after serving three years in prison. Clark also must pay more than 20 victims the $12,270 he stole from them.
Under terms of the probation, Clark also will be forbidden to enter into any contract without permission of his parole officer; may not have a checking or draft of credit account, and he may not be self-employed.