• Lenient sentence criticized in public theft case

    The suspended sentence given to a twice-convicted embezzler who stole a combined $910,000 has a top state retirement official angry at the judge who handed down the light punishment.
    McDaid, 46, of Medford, pled guilty to charges of larceny over $250, uttering a false check and forgery after a routine audit tipped authorities off that he was writing checks to himself – 181 in all totaling $740,000 – from Maynard's retirement fund.
    When he was charged with the theft, he was on probation for stealing $170,000 from the Asperger's Association of New England.
    Considering it was his second time committing a major offense, prosecutors expected a hefty jail sentence for the Maynard theft.
    At McDaid's district court arraignment last year, Assistant Middlesex District Attorney Doug Nagengast cited the likelihood of hard time in asking for a high bail of $500,000.
    "The defendant is likely facing incarceration with a state prison sentence because of his prior conviction for a similar offense, and the fact that this is such a large amount of money for public funds and that in fact he committed this offense while he was in fact on probation," Nagengast said in court.
    When he pled guilty on April 26, prosecutors asked for a 7-to-9-year sentence. But instead, Superior Court Judge Kathe Tuttman gave him a suspended sentence, meaning no jail time as long as he stays out of trouble.
    Tuttman said in court that, "McDaid is a person who has advanced degrees, who's intelligent, who's been accomplished in his life... (which) makes it even more egregious," according to the court transcript.
    But noting his remorse and intention to pay restitution, she said, "Putting him back in jail at this point in time is not going to serve the interests of society or the interest of Mr. McDaid."
    That sentence didn't sit well with Joseph Connarton, executive director of the Public Employee Retirement  Administration Commission, which oversees pension boards all over the state. Speaking before the Legislature's Joint Committee on Public Service on Tuesday, Connarton said he and his board members thought McDaid deserved hard time.
    "It was discouraging that the Justice in the case found that here would be no jail time provided to this individual. We felt at the commission that the members and beneficiaries of the retirement system deserved that, but it's out of our hands," Connarton said.
    The sentence given to McDaid stands out even more compared to another high-profile larceny case. Cape Cod charity founder Gina Clark was given a four- to five- year sentence earlier this month for stealing more than $100,000.
    Tuttman is no stranger to controversial decisions. She came under fire for releasing convicted killer Daniel Tavares in 2007 over objections from prosecutors. Tavares then went to Washington state, where he murdered a couple.

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