Man Who Stole Thousands From Wyoming Fraternity Sentenced to Probation
A Rawlins man who admitted to stealing thousands of dollars from his former fraternity at the University of Wyoming will avoid prison time so long as he complies with the terms of his probation.
Joseph Daniel Thomas Madrid, 20, was sentenced to three years of supervised probation with an underlying two- to five-year prison sentence Thursday in Albany County District Court.
Judge Jeffrey Donnell also ordered Madrid to pay $9,004.75 in restitution. Madrid admitted to stealing $3,350 from the fraternity by writing checks on the fraternity's account without permission.
Madrid dropped out of school and left the fraternity in December 2015.
Donnell declined Thursday to grant Madrid first-offender status. Donnell said although Madrid has no prior criminal history and pleaded guilty to only one crime, the charge covers at least 13 acts.
"This is not just a single offense. Every time you wrote a check, it's a new offense," Donnell said. "It isn't just a one-time, impulsive, sudden act."
Donnell went on to say that because Madrid wrote a total of 13 unauthorized checks on different occasions, he was concerned that Madrid might commit similar crimes down the road.
Defense attorney Randy Hiller agreed with Donnell's assessment of the nature of the offense, but said Madrid is back in Rawlins with his family and has a reason to stay out of trouble. Hiller requested a sentence of probation for his client.
Prosecutor Kurt Britzius also recommended probation as called for in the original plea agreement, and said the state's primary concern was ensuring Madrid repays the fraternity.
"He does have employment at this time," Britzius said. "He seems to be on the right track."
But Donnell questioned whether that's the case, citing Madrid's attitude in court Thursday.
"I don't see any real change in thought process here at all," Donnell said. "Mr. Madrid's attitude now is no different from what it was at the time, as far as I can tell."
Donnell said he normally includes a restriction in the sentencing order prohibiting people convicted of similar crimes from working a job where they have access to the employer's money. But since Madrid already holds such a position in Rawlins, Donnell did not see fit to include such a prohibition.
"I do hope this never happens again," Donnell told Madrid. "Think before you act next time."