GREENVILLE – The former mayor of Pitsburg was sentenced in Darke County Common Pleas Court Monday for his part in a business venture that failed – and failed to pay the promised return to private lenders who had put up the money for the deal.
Anthony M. Spires, 48, now of Bellbrook, was sentenced to 60 months of community control sanctions, seven days in jail to be served at a later time, 100 hours of community service and was ordered to pay restitution of $23,103.81 to his victims in the case. He had entered a plea of no contest in February on six counts of forgery, fourth-degree felonies.
The restitution was a matter of much contention in the sentencing hearing, with Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation forensic accountant Mike Kaizar called to testify and Spires taking the stand himself to explain the situation with the business books.
Spires solicited funding to start up SPI Scanning, a company that would provide remote cardiac monitoring services for heart patients. He was partnered with Kelly Bergeron, who held a 49 percent interest in the company and functioned as its chief financial officer.
Primarily at issue was the fact that Spires kept a single bank account, with which he managed his funds from a previous business, his private expenses as well as his funds for SPI Scanning. The restitution ordered was for the funds provided by investors (or lenders) that Spires appeared to have used for personal expenses.
R. Kelly Ormsby, Darke County Prosecutor, said the restitution amount determined by the forensic accountant was $28,103.81, and Randall Breaden, for the defense, put the figure at $22,643.91. The largest portion of that discrepancy involved a check for $5,000 received from Philip and Henry Amazing Magicians with a memo marked “leads.”
Spires said the check was received for his consulting services, as Philip and Henry were looking to expand their business into cardiac monitoring and for their magicians to be trained as sales representatives to supplement their income as magicians. Spires responded to questions of the apparent conflict with his own business, by saying that he had hoped to be able to used the trained sales force of magicians to serve as sales representatives for his own company’s services on a commissioned basis, as SPI Scanning could not afford a regular sales staff.
Judge Jonathan Hein did not include the check from Philip and Henry in the restitution amount, explaining to the victims in the courtroom that he was required to set restitution at an amount that was “collectible and realistic,” and only in an amount applicable to the criminal charges. Hein reassured the victims that they were still able to attempt to recoup their losses – which totalled $75,000 – through a civil suit.
Hein further explained that the community control sanctions were “within the legislative intent” for sentencing for a fourth-degree felony, first-time offender. He noted that the legislature has made it clear “prison is not to be used for nonviolent crime.”
In addition to his sentence, Spires was ordered to stay clear of any gambling or gaming facilities of any kind, as the forensic accounting determined that several of the withdrawals from the disputed bank account were made from ATMs in gaming facilities.