FARMINGTON — The long-running embezzlement case against a former South Weber councilman has been privately resolved with no conviction in court.
William Michael Poff, 44, had been scheduled to appear in court next week for a disposition hearing on charges dating back to March 2014. But instead, the case was quietly brought up in court Dec. 15 and, in a private resolution called a "diversion," was dismissed.
Poff was charged with three counts of communications fraud, a second-degree felony, after prosecutors said he embezzled more than $200,000 from an assisted living center he used to manage. The charges each carried a potential penalty of at least one year and up to 15 years in prison.
Because the case has been resolved through a diversion, Poff has not been convicted of any offense and all details about the agreement, such as whether he will pay restitution, are sealed.
Deputy Davis County Attorney Rick Westmoreland said the uncommon agreement worked for all parties involved.
"We got it worked out," Westmoreland said. "This was just a matter of everybody coming together and doing what was in the best interest of everyone."
Westmoreland acknowledged that diversion agreements, usually used in drug cases, are "not the norm."
"I maybe have done it two or three times in my career, so over 20 years. It's not the norm, but it is a way of doing things," Westmoreland said.
Poff's attorney did not return calls for comment.
Poff pleaded not guilty to the charges against him in July 2014. Since then, the case has dragged through the 2nd District Court, as one hearing after another was pushed forward on the calendar and preliminary hearings were repeatedly scheduled and then canceled.
After nearly four years in court, Westmoreland said the alleged victim in the case was ready to resolve the issue.
"We wouldn't have done this if the victim hadn't been supporting it," Westmoreland said.
Westmoreland noted that some of the delay in the case was due to additional investigations into Poff that were going on at the time. The allegations in those inquiries were not substantiated, Westmoreland said.
Poff was two years into his four-year term as a South Weber councilman when the charges were filed. He served out the remainder of his term and did not seek re-election in 2015.
According to charging documents, Poff was manager of the assisted living center in Bountiful from 2008 to 2010. During that time, prosecutors said he applied for several credit cards in his name, made several thousand dollars' worth of purchases on them, and then used proceeds from the assisted living center to pay off his debt, according to charging documents.2 comments on this story
At the same time, Poff took out several credit cards in the name of the business and racked up several thousand more dollars worth of purchases for items investigators say were for his personal use, the charges state. He was also accused of depositing several thousand dollars from the business into his personal bank accounts.
In March 2014, Davis County deputy attorney Steve Major called the case "a very typical type of embezzlement."
Shortly after the charges were filed, Bruce Morrison, owner of Welcome Home Assisted Living, told the Deseret News he had considered Poff a friend. When an audit revealed problems with the business' bookkeeping, he went to police.
"It was taking me under," Morrison said. "There's not a ton of profit in assisted living, but it just about bankrupt us."