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Former Clarke University bookstore director to serve 4 years for $300,000 book vendor scheme

Spaulding committed a similar scheme in 2006 to 2009 while he was employed by a university in Massachusetts

James Spaulding
James Spaulding

A former Clarke University bookstore director was sentenced to over four years in federal prison for stealing over $300,000 in a book vendor scheme.

James Spaulding, 35, now of Longmont, Colo., former director of the campus Bookstore on the Dubuque campus, pleaded guilty last December in U.S. District Court to one count of mail fraud and two counts of filing false tax returns from 2011 to 2012.

U.S. District Chief Judge Linda Reade came close to denying Spaulding a two-level reduction for acceptance of responsibility, which would have resulted in more prison time, but she granted it calling it a “skinny acceptance.”

According to court documents, Spaulding lied to a grand jury about the book scheme, and only when confronted by the prosecutor afterward, did he confess.

Reade said making false statements before a grand jury is “extremely serious.” She also chastised Spaulding for not paying anything towards restitution. He was ordered to pay $68,000 to Clarke and $250,901 to Clarke’s insurance company. He also was ordered to pay for the cost of prosecution - $2,454.

Reade pointed out Spaulding bought a Mercedes when he moved to Colorado after this crime and then sold it for $19,000 but told authorities he used the money to pay for living expenses.

Reade added that it was especially troubling to her that Spaulding has done this before. Spaulding committed a similar scheme in 2006 to 2009 while he was employed by a university in Massachusetts. He stole $60,000 of computers and resold them on the internet for profit, but he did end up making restitution to the university, she said. Spaulding told the judge before she sentenced him that there was nothing he could say to justify what he did and he apologized to Clarke and his family.

According to the plea agreement Spaulding was responsible for ordering text books and other books for the student bookstore, and he would submit invoices to the university’s accounting department for payment to the book supplier.

Spaulding and Thomas DeFelice, his friend, created a fictitious corporation called RVP Wholesale Books Inc. L.L.C., of New Hampshire on July 28, 2011. Spaulding would send fraudulent RVP invoices for books to Clarke University, totaling $302,176, which were paid to RVP, according to the criminal information.

Thomas DeFelice is charged with one count of conspiracy to file false tax returns. He faces up to five years in prison. He is set to plead guilty Tuesday.

Spaulding also admitted to falsifying his tax return for 2011 and 2012, according to a plea agreement. Spaulding failed to include the income he received from the RVP scheme. In one transaction, he received $104,165 in 2011 and in another he received $46,664 in 2012, which he didn’t report.