Katrina Kennedy Cannon, an office manager who stole $210,000 from her employer, brought to her sentencing hearing 50 letters of support.
But, the prosecutor noted, none was written by her victim — widely regarded Scottish golf course architect David McLay Kidd.
“Just because she doesn’t have a criminal record doesn’t excuse her abuse of power and her abuse of trust,” said Deschutes County Deputy District Attorney Dan Reesor, asking the judge to sentence Cannon to three years in prison. “This company has suffered a great loss.”
Cannon pleaded no contest in May to two counts of aggravated first-degree identity theft, one of first-degree theft and one of criminal forfeiture. For her crimes, she was given two years by Deschutes Circuit Judge Walter Miller at an emotional hearing Tuesday that was packed with Cannon’s supporters.
They included former coworkers, fellow fast-pitch softball parents and coaches and her new boss, Rob Kelleher of KellCon construction, who hired Cannon after she was fired for embezzling.
Not present in the audience was Kidd, who was traveling out of the country and could not attend, according to Reesor. Kidd has an international reputation for golf course design and has worked at St. Andrews Links in Scotland. His firm, DMK Golf Design, is behind Tetherow golf course and Bandon Dunes on the Oregon Coast.
“I did speak with him yesterday, and he is in agreement that we proceed with sentencing today,” Reesor said.
Kidd hired Cannon to work for his firm in 2015 and quickly entrusted her with a key role in the company, according to Cannon’s attorney, Casey Baxter. Without a formal degree, she taught herself the principles of accounting on the job.
After Kidd discovered the embezzlement in 2018, he fired Cannon and hired an outside accountant to comb DMK’s books. The Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office ultimately charged Cannon with 16 criminal counts.
She stole by multiple means, most commonly, payroll theft.
“Much of it was facilitated essentially by Ms. Cannon paying herself more on each paycheck, and paying herself paychecks she wasn’t entitled to.”
She made many unauthorized reimbursements using the company credit card — for items like makeup and services like the Earth2o bottled water delivery. In some instances, she attempted to conceal her activities through debit cards purchased through the Green Dot Corp.
Reesor asked the judge to not put too much weight in Cannon’s lack of criminal record. Were she to be sentenced to the requested three years, Reesor said, she would still be eligible for a prison program through the Department of Corrections that could potentially release her after a year and a half.
“You’re going to hear she’s nonviolent, that she has no criminal record,” Reesor told the judge. “But she is getting a break from the get-go because of the way the DOC is set up.”
Baxter, Cannon’s attorney, argued for a downward departure in sentencing based on her lack of a prior criminal record and her many personal references.
He asked the judge for 60 days in jail — no prison.
“Being handcuffed, being led away from your family and told where to go and what do,” Baxter said. “Sixty days in the county jail is not easy time.”
No contest pleas are different from guilty pleas in that when defendants plead no contest, they agree that the state could prove its charges at trial, but they don’t admit guilt.
Baxter took a number of shots at Kidd and DMK, which, had the case gone to trial, he likely would have used to weaken Kidd’s testimony.
“There were many potentially very unethical business practices,” Baxter said. “My client might not want me to state this, but I feel it is important for the court to hear it.”
Baxter alleged Kidd concealed money from the U.S. government in a bank in Belize. He claimed Kidd fraudulently signed Kidd’s father’s name on government paperwork and committed insurance fraud on a golf course project in California.
Cannon has a husband, son and daughter. While awaiting trial, she was unable to attend her son’s college graduation and witness him become the first person in their family to earn a bachelor’s degree.
Cannon herself addressed the court, in a soft, deliberate voice.
“I didn’t do everything correct the way I should have, but I never intended to do any harm,” she said. “I always worked hard for the company and tried to set that example for my kids. … I do want to make it right. I do not agree with everything that was said about me. I just apologize to my family and everybody around me for having to go through this.”
Miller said “it’s not every day” a felony defendant comes to court with 50 letters of support.
“Certainly the court notices that,” he said. “But I have not heard substantial and compelling reasons to depart from the sentence.”
Rather than immediately taking Cannon into custody, Miller gave her until 7 p.m. Tuesday to turn herself in to the Deschutes County jail to begin being processed into the state prison system.
Following the hearing, she kissed her husband and hugged a line of supporters in the courthouse lobby.
— Reporter: 541-383-0325, firstname.lastname@example.org