Given the ubiquity of tight budgets, the last thing the Adams 12 Five Star School District needed was financial betrayal by Steven Patrick Atwood, once a local hero and legend. The 41-year-old former athletic director of the district has avoided a lengthy prison term and will instead spend 90 days in jail on work release before starting seven years of probation for felony embezzlement of ticket and concession sales during games in 2008 and 2009, reports 7News. He also will have to pay at least $20,000 in restitution. "This case is beyond mere embezzlement or theft. It is a violation of trust," says Don Quick, district attorney for Adams and Broomfield counties. "This man stole from students, tax-payers, and the school district. In addition, given the current school budget situation, especially with teachers’ positions and salaries being cut, embezzling from a school is a particularly callous crime."
Atwood, once a star athlete who returned to teach in his hometown, rising to become athletic director, got away with tens of thousands of dollars, according to 9News, which notes that the exact amount is unknown but cites an estimate of "at least" $190,000. Adams County District Court Judge Chris Melonakis scolded the defendant: "It's terribly sad, Mr. Atwood, to see someone who has come as far as you have to disgrace yourself. It's a terrible failure on your part." At times, Atwood had bundles of cash. His ex-wife told prosecutors she once found $10,000 in a bag stuffed between a cabinet and a wall.