ROGERS CITY - An Onaway auto parts store manager could face prison time after being convicted of using a computer to defraud the store by more than $20,000.
Presque Isle County Prosecutor Rick Steiger said John Edward Shaloy, 42, was convicted on one count each of embezzlement by an agent or trustee and of using a computer to commit a crime. Each felony has a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail, a $10,000 fine or both. Shaloy was convicted of entering fake returns into the store's computer, more than $12,000 of which was for a part the store doesn't stock.
Mike Hackett, Shaloy's attorney, said there were questions as to whether the store records were accurate. Shaloy maintains his innocence, and Hackett believes the jury's decision was a close one.
"It wasn't one of those situations where the jury listens to the facts, walk into the jury room and vote, and everyone agrees immediately one way or another," he said.
Onaway Carquest Auto Parts owners discovered the embezzlement after noticing an after-hours exchange from May 31, 2012, Steiger said. The store cash register was short $122, but no item had been returned.
Shaloy allegedly had been entering the fake returns since 2010, Steiger said. This includes more than $10,000 in paint returns despite the fact the store only sold around $2,000 in paint over the same period. He entered each return under two other employees' names while using the manager's terminal or office.
"Both employees stated they would never use the manager's office for purchases or returns," Steiger said. "They testified that they had never, in the eight and nine years they were respectively employed at car quest, never exchanged paint for a cash refund. They would always swap it out for the correct color."
Shaloy had worked at the store before it was purchased by the owner of a few local Carquest retailers, Steiger said. The new owners kept him and the two employees, with Shaloy keeping his position as manager.
Steiger's office gave Shaloy the option of pleading to a lesser degree of embezzlement while dropping the computer charge altogether, Steiger said. Shaloy turned it down, and his sentencing in Presque Isle County Circuit Court is on Oct. 7.
The verdict was an unusual one, Hackett said, as jurors had written "Please show leniency" on the verdict form.
"I've been practicing law for 38 years, a major part of my work is trial work and I was a prosecutor for two terms in Cheboygan," he said. "I did a lot of trials, and never have I seen a jury do something like that."
While Steiger presented evidence showing more than $22,000 was missing from the store, the money was never found, he said.