Theft conviction sends star CIO back to prison

Frantz sentenced to six years in jail for embezzling from a third employer, Auto Warehousing Co.

Dale Frantz was a rising star at Auto Warehousing Co. through the mid-2000s, a CIO who earned $250,000 a year and was respected by his peers. He was also a thief who embezzled more than $500,000 between 2007 and 2009 by faking expense reports and reselling his employer's equipment.

Judge Robert Bryan earlier this month sentenced Frantz, 46, to nearly six years in prison on fraud charges. Frantz was also ordered by the Tacoma, Wash., federal judge to pay $516,358 in restitution to Portland, Ore.-based AWC, a vehicle-processing company that transports cars to dealerships.

Frantz -- who was honored as one of Computerworld's Premier 100 IT Leaders in 2005 -- had established himself as an out-of-the-box IT executive after joining AWC in 1998. Among other things, he migrated much of his company from Windows PCs to Macs and engaged in a public dispute with Microsoft Corp. In fact, prosecutors cited the public accolades he had received to illustrate the level of trust he had achieved at AWC.

AWC itself told prosecutors that "Dale Frantz was a trusted senior leader" whose opinions "were given high priority in terms of expenditures, operations and business strategy.

But he was more than a CIO: Frantz led a double life as an incompetent thief who stole from three companies and was caught each time, according to court records.

"I have struggled with stealing throughout most of my adult life," he wrote in a letter to Judge Bryan.

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