Ronald McDonald Charity Thief Randall Morrison Faces Prison; Happy Meals Will Be Scarce

"The heartlessness of his acts is indescribable," Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Masada told a federal court judge last week, asking that Randall Morrison be sentenced to more than two years in prison. Morrison's crime ranks pretty high on the despicable meter, stealing $142,000 from the Ronald McDonald House Holiday Cruise while serving as treasurer of the charity's subsidiary.

His thefts nearly depleted the fund and forced the charity to curtail its work on other events, like festivals on Mother's Day and Father's Day and an Easter brunch -- not to mention having to pare way back on the Ronald McDonald Holiday Cruise.

"Mr. Morrison's insatiable desire for money is inexcusable," Masada added, noting that Morrison earned at times $160,000 a year in legitimate income. "While the defendant was fixated on improving his already high standard of living, the true victims of his crime were consumed with the fragility of life itself."

Morrison was to have been sentenced last Friday, but his attorney, a public defender, withdrew from the case and new counsel must now be appointed, said U.S. Attorney spokeswoman Emily Langlie. As a result, it could take up to 30 days for his punishment to be meted out.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, say the 50-year-old Morrison drained the charity of its financial reserves, using money that was to have gone toward helping very sick children and their families to bankroll his own lifestyle.

Morrison, who began to work for the holiday cruise charity seven years ago, claims he was forced to steal to pay gambling debts he incurred to pay for his wife's health problems.

As Seattle reports:

As the theft continued, Morrison -- who left his job at Microsoft and moved to Ohio in 2006 -- had all the charity's bank statements and financial statements sent directly to him. He fabricated reports to the charity's board to hide the fact that the charity's accounts were dwindling.

The embezzlement came to light in January 2009, when Morrison's new employer -- Morrison was its chief financial officer -- contacted the charity about apparent fraud on Morrison's business credit card. The investigation that followed showed more than $100,000 had gone missing.

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