PROVO -- A former Brigham Young University employee will serve jail time for stealing $200,000 from the school.
Allen Scott Harris, 40, was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 150 hours of community service Thursday for four second-degree felony charges of theft and communications fraud.
Prosecutors say as part of Harris's job at BYU Broadcasting, he bought laptops to give to employees between June 2008 and February 2009. In all, nearly 50 laptops, 80 computer monitors and 175 printer cartridges were bought with university money and sold for more than $200,000.
Harris's attorney, Don McCandless, asked for an alternative to jail in order to allow Harris to continue working. He also asked the judge to consider suspending the jail sentence for a time to see how Harris does paying restitution in the case. McCandless said Harris is very earnest in his desire to pay restitution to the school and would like to be able to continue working in order to do so.
"It's going to take a great deal of time to pay, no matter what he does," McCandless said.
Although prosecutor Craig Johnson did not ask for prison time, he asked that Harris's sentences be consecutive. He said the possibility of spending four to 60 years in prison should be motivation to Harris to pay his restitution.
Johnson also asked the judge to sentence Harris to jail now and recommended he serve six months straight time.
Harris offered a tearful apology to the judge, saying he is sorry to BYU and everyone else involved in the case. He said it is a misfortune that he got involved in the crimes.
"It's changed my life forever," he said. "I just want everyone to know how sorry I am."
Judge James Taylor agreed with Johnson and sent Harris to jail immediately. Deputies took Harris into custody after the hearing to begin his sentence. Taylor also sentenced Harris to one to 15 years in prison, concurrent on each count, but suspended the prison sentence.
He ordered Harris to pay restitution in the case and gave him 60 months probation. Though the standard term for probation is only 36 months, Taylor said he gave a longer probation in order to give Harris time to pay the money back. He also said there may be mental health issues and said he wanted longer probation for Harris to get a mental health evaluation and treatment.