December 14, 2010, 4:07 PM — Former Auto Warehousing Co. CIO Dale Frantz. Before former CIO Dale Frantz was sentenced last week to nearly six years in prison for stealing more than $500,000 from his employer, he wrote the judge in his case a letter.
The letter began: "My name is Dale Frantz and I am a thief."
Frantz the one-time CIO of Auto Warehousing Co. (AWC) in Tacoma, Wash. was "a rising star" who was paid $250,000 a year in salary and bonuses. Thirteen employees at the auto processing company reported to him, and he was trusted by his company and recognized by his peers for his efforts in managing technology .
Among other things, Frantz established himself as an out-of-the-box IT leader, taking his company from PCs to Apple , a move Computerworld reported on extensively . In fact, the public accolades were something prosecutors cited to illustrate the level of trust he had achieved at AWC.
But Frantz, 46, was more than a CIO: He led a double life as an incompetent thief, according to court records.
AWC was the third company Frantz stole from in his career, and it seemed as if he was always getting caught.
At AWC, Frantz either wrote up fake invoices or altered them in a way that inflated prices. He also worked with a co-conspirator to create a fake company to generate invoices for services that were never delivered.
"I have struggled with stealing throughout most of my adult life," he wrote in his letter to Tacoma federal court Judge Robert Bryan just before his sentencing Friday on a charge of wire fraud.
Frantz was being truthful, court records show.
In 1991, Frantz was fired from his job at Great Lakes Chemical in Indiana. He had ordered computer equipment with company funds that he sold for personal profit, according to Jenny A. Durkan, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Washington, and Thomas M. Woods, assistant U.S. attorney. That information was included in their sentencing memo to the judge.
After he was fired from Great Lakes, Frantz landed a job with another company, Pro Audio, in Indiana. The company later discovered that Frantz had "deposited into the bank on numerous occasions significantly less money than the company had earned on that day." He also forged checks.
During an 18-month period, Frantz deposited $200,000 in his account, even though his annual salary at Pro Audio was less than $32,000.