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Prosecutors contend that the former chief financial officer of taxpayer-owned Heber Light & Power who is on probation after admitting he stole thousands of dollars from company should be sent to prison for allegedly lying to the court, fleeing to his native country of Canada and failing to make restitution payments.
On Wednesday, 4th District Judge Roger Griffin issued a no-bail arrest warrant for Anthony Furness after he failed to appear for a probation review hearing.
In January, Furness, 56, pleaded guilty to a reduced third-degree felony count of attempted theft by deception. A charge of possession of a forgery writing or device was dismissed as part of a plea deal.
He faced a potential zero-to-five-year prison term, but Griffin stayed the prison sentence so long as Furness completed three years of court-supervised probation.
As part of his probation, Furness was ordered to serve 10 days in jail, which the judge said he could do by self-reporting to the Wasatch County jail over five weekends so as not to disrupt the defendant's landscaping business, located in Hurricane, Utah.
Furness's attorney recently filed a motion asking the judge to stay the jail time because Furness is now living in Vancouver, British Columbia, and claiming it would be a financial hardship to make him travel to Utah.
But prosecutors with the Utah Attorney General's Office wrote in a responding motion that Furness moved to Canada just weeks after his sentencing, and did not seek the court's permission before "fleeing" the United States.
In fact, prosecutors wrote, there is no evidence that Furness ever lived in Hurricane, or that he owned or operated any business in Washington County.
"We believe [Furness] has made material and significant misrepresentation to the court [and probation officials] with regard to his residence, employment and income," prosecutors wrote.
Furness who embezzled more than $146,000 also had agreed to pay about $51,000 in restitution by making monthly payments.
But prosecutors say he has made only two full restitution payments, in March and May.
Meanwhile, there is still an outstanding warrant for Furness in New Brunswick, Canada, where he is accused of having defrauded Saint John Energy of at least $5,000 while working as vice president for finance for the company.
Furness was fired from Saint John Energy in 2006, less than a year before he was hired at Heber Light & Power. After the criminal allegations surfaced in Utah, many citizens in the Heber area expressed outrage that Furness was hired while under investigation for a crime in Canada.
Connie Tatton was mayor of Midway from 2006 to 2014 and served on the board of Heber Light & Power when Furness was hired in 2006.
"He had the qualifications. To find an accountant with utility experience is not the easiest thing to do," Tatton said last year. "His past conduct in Canada was not part of his records, and it was only later that we found out that there were similar incidents."
Heber Light & Power is jointly owned by the taxpayers of Heber City, Midway and Charleston. The company's board, which is responsible for hiring, is composed of the mayors of the three cities, as well as two council members from Heber City and a non-voting Wasatch County council member.