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Sturgis city manager pleads not guilty

Sturgis city manager pleads not guilty

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STURGIS -- Sturgis city manager David Boone pled not guilty Friday to grand theft by insurance fraud and grand theft by deception.

The indictment, filed in late October, alleges that Boone excessively profited from a claim on hail damage to a Honda CR-V in August 2009. An alternate count of grand theft by deception was also filed.

Boone appeared for arraignment before Fourth Circuit Judge John Bastian.

Boone could only be found guilty of one or the other but not both charges, according to Bastian.

Each count is a Class 4 felony, punishable by up to 10 years in jail and/or a $20,000 fine. If found guilty, Boone also would be responsible for court costs and restitution.

To be found guilty of the grand theft by insurance fraud charge, the prosecution would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Boone knowingly filed the insurance claim with untrue information with intent to defraud the insurance company.

To be found guilty of the grand theft by deception charge, the prosecution would need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Boone created or reinforced false value or failed to correct the creation or reinforcement of false value.

The case is being prosecuted by Lawrence County State's Attorney John Fitzgerald, acting as special prosecutor for Meade County.

Boone's attorney, Matt Kinney, requested a non-evidentiary motion hearing which was set for 10 a.m., Jan. 14.

Boone, who is free on a $2,000 unsecured bond, continues to work in his capacity as Sturgis's city manager. The city council has not taken any action penalizing Boone. On Dec. 6, the council did approve first reading of an ordinance that would delegate the city manager's duties in the event of an absence, disability or suspension. Under state statute, a city manager can only be suspended with the intent to fire.

Prior to the indictment, Boone applied for a similar position in St. Clair, Mo. Boone was the first choice of the St. Clair mayor and city council, but once knowledge of the indictment was discovered, Boone removed himself from consideration for the position.

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