Clair Hull sentenced to 10 years’ probation after pleading guilty to theft from bank |

Clair Hull sentenced to 10 years’ probation after pleading guilty to theft from bank

Clair Hull

Former Pioneer Specialty Feeds LLC owner and operator was sentenced April 3 to two years’ work release and 10 years supervised probation after pleading guilty to theft in connection with about $1 million prosecutors say he stole from a Colorado bank. He will have to pay the bank at least $500 a month for the next decade in order to compensate for the crime.

The courtroom was full as Clair Hull, 56, listened to Weld District Judge Julie Hoskins hand down the sentence. Prior to that, three people spoke on Hull’s behalf, including his oldest daughter. They detailed Hull’s extensive history in community service and said he was a key figure in Johnstown’s civic and cultural scene.

The case has its origins in Hull’s questionable business practices, beginning in January 2007, when he acquired a $1 million loan from the First National Bank of Greeley. From March 2006 through December 2010, he owned and operated Pioneer Specialty Foods LLC in Johnstown.

He is also a former Johnstown town council member.

The loan Hull took from First National was an “assignment accounts receivable” loan. It allows the borrower to acquire an advance on a percentage of the money owed by customers. The borrower then assigns those accounts to the bank and as customers pay, the loan is drawn down.

Starting in March 2008, though, Hull began to fall behind in his payments on the loan. Court records say he wrote checks with insufficient funds. They also tell how he tried to cash forged checks, fabricated customers and inflated invoice statements sent to First National Bank. He also opened another account at Farmers Union Federal Credit Union in Greenwood Village and told his customers to send their payments there instead of to First National.

Between Sept. 22, 2008, and Feb. 9, 2009, records say, customers sent $109,897.84 to the Farmer’s Union account, when the money should have gone to First National.

The case worked its way through the court system for about a year and a half, climaxing in Hull’s guilty plea.

Hoskins ruled Hull could begin serving his work release sentence May 1. ❖

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