RIGBY, Idaho - Former Rigby City Council President Lawrence Blackburn was sentenced to 120 days in jail and 10 years probation Monday evening after entering an Alford Plea.
Blackburn, who sat on Rigby's City Council for seven years, took money from the account of former client Margaret Orvick, who passed away in 2011. He's required to pay $30,000 in restitution to Orvick's daughter, Marie Starr Orvick, who currently lives in Oklahoma.
Judge Gregory Moeller called it the most reprehensible choice he's ever been confronted with Monday evening. Blackburn detailed his 20-25 year relationship with Orvick, his private investment firm's client until her passing at the age of 91.
"It was more of a developed friendship that happened over time." said Blackburn.
He claims Orvick called him a son, but he took that label too far and penned his name as her actual son and beneficiary on her policy.
"I knew that I wasn't, but I should've known better than to put that on there. It was a bad mistake," said Blackburn.
Defense attorney Ken Robbins said Blackburn needs to pay the price for abusing Orvick's trust.
However, Blackburn said he had a $600 per month arrangement with Orvick to look after her. He brought her to appointments, took her to the grocery store and even moved her belongings from Stockton, Calif., when she made the move to Idaho. But, even after Orvick's death, Blackburn continued to tap into her finances for business trips, expenses and even RedBox movies.
Judge Moeller says the fact that Blackburn didn't even use his own $1.25 for a rented DVD "illustrates criminal thinking."
"I don't think you have to be a professional with high ethical standards to know you crossed the line," Moeller told Blackburn.
While his wife looked on, Blackburn was handed down his sentence. It's one Judge Moeller says will not only deter Blackburn, but others as well.
"I have to let other people in your position know that if they commit a crime like this, they can expect serious consequences," Moeller told Blackburn.
In addition to the 120 days in jail and 10 years probation, Blackburn is required to complete 100 hours of community service, a $1,000 fine, court fees and of course, $30,000 in restitution to Marie Starr Orvick. He has 120 days to appeal the decision.