PROVO — A Pleasant Grove man accused of pocketing money that was donated to the family of “Little Addie,” a terminally ill girl who died in 2016, has been sentenced to jail and probation.

James Fowlke Richards, 47, was originally charged with three counts of communications fraud, a second-degree felony, and forgery, a third-degree felony.

As part of a deal with prosecutors, Richards entered no contest pleas in February to two counts of communications fraud, reduced from a second-degree felony to a class A misdemeanor.

On Monday, Richards’ attorney, Michael Petro, filed a motion seeking to reduce the convictions to class B misdemeanors if Richards successfully completes his probation. Prior to sentencing, Richards had paid more than $17,400 in restitution, court records show.

The remaining charges against Richards were dismissed as part of the deal.

Richards must serve 15 days of his sentence in Utah County Jail and may complete the final 15 days through a GPS monitoring program, according to court documents. He was ordered to report to jail Monday to begin his sentence.

Family members of Addie, a Fountain Green girl with cerebral atrophy, said Richards led them to think he cared for the family.

In late 2014, for what was expected to be Addie’s last Christmas, her grandparents created a plan to have her receive a lifetime of Christmas cards. She received thousands of cards from around the world.

Richards admitted collecting three checks for reimbursements adding up to nearly $30,000 that was meant for Addie and her family, according to court documents.

He told members from the charity that issued the checks he had used some of the money “inappropriately,” according to charging documents, and provided fraudulent documents when asked for receipts.

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Source:: Deseret News – Utah News


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