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FILE - A Vernal man who admitted to defrauding his employer when he recruited him to invest in a trucking app has been sentenced to probation and ordered to pay restitution.

SALT LAKE CITY — A Vernal man who admitted to defrauding his employer when he recruited him to invest in a trucking app has been sentenced to probation and ordered to pay restitution.

Cortney Blaine Pierce, 42, was accused of convincing his boss to invest $65,000 in a trucking app, but spending only about a quarter of that amount developing it, according to charging documents.

Pierce was sentenced last week to four years of probation for securities fraud, a third-degree felony, while a prison sentence of up to five years was suspended. He was also ordered to pay $68,600 in restitution, starting with a $20,000 payment prior to the hearing.

Pierce pleaded guilty in July to the charge, reduced from a second-degree felony to a third-degree felony, while an additional charge of theft, a second-degree felony, was dismissed.

According to charges filed in 8th District Court, Pierce approached his employer in May 2014 and talked to him about an app he wanted to develop that "would allow trucking companies to bid on projects."

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Pierce allegedly told the man that he and his wife would receive 50 percent ownership of the company that housed the app, BizPatch LLC, and promised about $10 million per year in profits. He also claimed his employer's investment would be returned in full within three months and that about 100 companies were expected to purchase the app, according to the charges.

But instead of putting his boss' investment into the BizPatch account, charging documents say he deposited it instead into a personal account. About $44,441 was spent on golf, purchases at Walmart, cellphone and utility bills, travel, dining, gas and ATM withdrawals, the charges state. Only about $16,500 was "invested for expenses that could have been related to developing the app," the charges state.