Since last summer, the 2News investigative team has gathered evidence in the Clark case. Documentation, including court records, internal emails, and statements, provide a timeline of when Clark’s alleged embezzlement occurred, when it was discovered, how law enforcement conducted their investigation and how the criminal justice system responded.
Invoices and submission sheets
Utah State Parks provide 2News Investigates with submission sheets submitted by Colt Paving Inc. for maintenance work and invoices signed by Clark.
The affidavit of the search warrant
Special Agent Patricia Reed, of the Utah Attorney General’s Office, filed this affidavit in August 2020. The warrant contains information from an interview Reed conducted with Deputy Director of the Department of Natural Resources Scott Strong, who explains that he discovered Clark’s alleged embezzlement after reviewing a sample from the department’s 2020 internal audit.
Scott Strong said that upon examining the samples he noticed that one sample stood out from supplier Colt Paving Inc. Scott noticed that many invoices from Colt Paving Inc. were just under 5,000.00 $, which worried him because if an offer is over $ 5,000.00 it has to go through a process with different checks. Scott also noticed that some of the asphalt repair work was done during the months of winter, which is usually not done.
On March 9, 2021, the Utah Attorney General’s Office charged Daniel Clark with five counts of communication fraud, illegal activity, obstruction of justice in criminal investigations, and d ‘use of position to obtain privileges or exemptions. The indictment describes the dates of Colt Paving Inc.’s invoices for work projects at five different state parks. It also details the checks paid to Colt Paving Inc. endorsed by Clark and deposited into his bank account.
âFor Count 7, knowing that an investigation was underway, the defendant met with investigators and presented as evidence 13 copies of monthly credit card statements from the defendant’s Home Depot account. notes on statements that purported to describe specific items he purchased from Home Depot for work performed at parks and recreation sites in Utah. T. Pruse, corporate investigator for Home Depot, received the statements from Home Depot produced by the defendant After researching the date of the transaction, the inventory item number and comparing this information to the defendant’s note, Mr. Pruse concluded that the defendant’s notes were false. For example, the defendant wrote that some item numbers on his credit card statements were for a “skid steer rental” which he used to complete paving and leveling projects. When Mr. Pruse searched the numbers bones of items and dollar amounts in store inventory records, the items were purchases for a terra cotta carpet, a mix turf builder, a riding mower bagger, and bungee cords. ”
Internal emails between the GA’s office and Clark’s lawyer
Obtained through a request for public documents, these email exchanges show how negotiations are progressing between Clark’s attorney, Walter Bugden, and AG prosecutors. Bugden writes: âDan’s position is that he did the paving work. But because he was not disclosing that he was improperly awarding himself (Colt) contracts, he was not checking with the Park Ranger manager or the maintenance team to announce his presence Indeed, he was trying to finish. paving work without being noticed. “
âDan did the job. He was not charging for ghost work. Give him a polygraph test. What have you got to lose in seeking the truth in this matter? Bugden argues.
Clark’s statement in support of his guilty plea
Four months after his indictment, Clark pleaded guilty to two counts of communication fraud. He agreed to pay $ 25,000 in restitution to the Utah Attorney General’s office within one month of the plea. He has two years of probation, but no prison. As part of his plea, Clark provides a statement in which he writes that he “devised a scheme to defraud the Parks and Recreation Division by awarding a state offer to his company, Colt Paving, Inc. for the reclassification. of work performed “at Rockport State Park on March 25, 2019 and November 15, 2019.
All other charges have been dropped.
Utah Attorney General’s Office Statement
The Utah attorney general’s office has turned down multiple interview requests for this story. They provided a written statement via email:
“The Clark case was thoroughly investigated and scrutinized before a plea was offered. The plea deal and resulting sentence are the product of realities within our criminal justice and our legal systems.
These realities include the fact that while the state may have gathered considerable and strong evidence against Clark, the age of some evidence has made it difficult to charge older offenses. The Office also faced a two to three year wait for a trial given the current backlog of criminal cases due to the COVID-19 crisis. Further, the Bureau knew that even if Clark had been convicted of all of the crimes charged, he likely would not have received a prison term under current sentencing guidelines, and would also have unlikely to pay substantial criminal restitution.
In light of these realities, the Bureau offered to accept Clark’s guilty plea to two counts of the third degree felony of communications fraud. As part of this plea, Clark admitted that he had devised a scheme to defraud the Division. The court sentenced Clark to two suspended prison terms, as well as two years of probation, and ordered him to pay a fine of $ 25,000. “
Declaration of the Ministry of Natural Resources
The Utah Department of Natural Resources also declined to be interviewed for this story. They provided a written statement via email.
“Last year, Utah State Parks (Division) uncovered and promptly dealt with allegations that one of our employees, Daniel W. Clark, had embezzled state funds.”
Clark’s employment with the division was terminated the day after he was interviewed by division management and MNR. “