A former financial officer for Pearl Jam’s management company was sentenced on Friday to 14 months in prison for embezzling more than $300,000 over three years.
In meting out a sentence at the high end of the standard sentence range for first-degree theft, Superior Court Judge Roger Rogoff said, “There is nothing more devastating to an organization than someone who takes money from the inside.”
The attorney for Rickey Goodrich, 55, of Novato, Calif., unsuccessfully argued that as a first-time offender his client deserved probation.
The judge agreed, however, to allow Goodrich to remain out of custody for two weeks so that he could get his financial affairs in order. Rogoff said he did that so Goodrich would be in the best position possible to pay restitution to the victims.
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In two weeks, Goodrich will again face Rogoff for the formal sentencing.
Goodrich, who had originally been charged with 33 counts of theft, pleaded guilty in December to six counts of first-degree theft for using company accounts to pay personal debts and fund lavish family vacations, spa treatments, life insurance and pricey California wines, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors said he had paid back $125,000 when he pleaded guilty.
Goodrich was hired by Pearl Jam Touring Co. in 2005, according to court records.
The following year, he was named chief financial officer for Curtis Inc., the management company owned by the band’s manager, Kelly Curtis, court papers say.
Over the next few years, Goodrich used funds from Curtis Inc. to repeatedly make payments on his wife’s American Express account and to pay for credit-card charges he racked up at wineries, hotels and spas, charging documents said. He also used the company credit card on Amazon.com, iTunes, hotels and restaurants, and to purchase airplane tickets for himself and family members, according to charging papers.
He was removed from his position as tour accountant in 2009 for a series of financial discrepancies, court documents say.
There were no further financial problems until 2010 when Goodrich filled in for the band’s regular tour accountant, the papers say.
New problems quickly arose, including a missing $15,000 payment in “road cash” that Goodrich first claimed was split among the five members of Pearl Jam, according to charging documents. When the band’s lead guitarist said he never received the money, Goodrich claimed the $15,000 had actually been used to pay for crew bonuses — which crew members also disputed receiving, charging papers say.
Goodrich was confronted about the financial discrepancies after that May 2010 tour, and he repaid the band $45,000 for so-called loans he paid to himself by forging Curtis’ signature, the papers say.
Goodrich was fired in September 2010.
After the band initiated its own financial audit, Seattle police launched a criminal investigation in January 2011 and Goodrich was charged with the thefts in 2012.
At the hearing on Friday, Goodrich said he thought the money he took was a loan from Curtis and said he was sorry for the “misunderstanding.”
Christine Clarridge can be reached at 206-464-8983 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.