EAGLE — An admitted embezzler was sentenced to eight years for stealing from the local Rotary club and his employer.
Henry Kunter was paid to be treasurer of the Vail-Eagle Valley Rotary Club. While he was collecting a paycheck from the club, he stole at least $136,033 from the local Rotarians. At the same time, he also stole at least $87,940.36 from his employer, Crystal River Oil and Gas.
District Court Judge Fred Gannett sentenced Kunter to eight years for stealing money from the oil and gas company, and six years for stealing from the Rotary club.
Kunter will serve his time in community corrections and will be eligible to work. That’s necessary so he can pay back the money he admitted stealing, Gannett ruled.
“Prison won’t get Mr. Kunter’s victims repaid, which he will do — every penny,” Gannett said.
Kunter pleaded guilty earlier this summer to two counts of felony theft. He could have spent up to 20 years in prison. He had been held in the Eagle County jail without bail prior to being sentenced. He is not eligible for parole.
A civil suit is ongoing to determine who gets what part of the $37,000 Kunter has in a local bank.
Like father, unlike son
Ironically, Kunter’s father had been the Rotary club treasurer before him. He resigned when he was stricken with Parkinson’s disease, and Vail’s Rotarians handed the club’s finances to his son, Henry.
“We thought trust ran in the family lineage,” Rich Siegel, president of the Vail Rotary Club, said when Kunter pleaded guilty.
It wasn’t long before some of the club’s vendors began approaching officers to ask why they had not been paid.
The investigation found that in 2009, Kunter began writing checks from the Rotary club account to dummy companies he controlled. Among them was HYK Enterprises LLC, which was discovered in 2012.
Kunter taught accounting at Colorado Mountain College. He started with Crystal Oil and Gas in 2011 as a bookkeeper and accountant.
Among the checks Kunter wrote to himself from the oil company’s accounts were two checks to VRC Operations Inc., for $8,500 each, and one to Apache Enterprises Ltd., for $39,128.73.
His scheme began to unravel in October 2012, when he wrote a second check to Apache Enterprises for another $39,128.73. The company’s managers alerted the Basalt police and stopped payment on that check.
After he was caught, Kunter filed complaints against Crystal River Oil and Gas with the Colorado Department of Labor and the California Department of Labor.
“He continued to contact investors and tell them lies. I can’t image how someone would continue to hurt his employers and co-workers in this way,” Gary Schelling, with Crystal River Oil and Gas, said when Kunter pleaded guilty.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.