Ex-Kent businessman Mark Owen pleads guilty to theft, forgery
By STEVE HUNTER
Kent Reporter Courts, government reporter
August 30, 2012 · 12:30 PM
Former Kent businessman Mark Lee Owen pleaded guilty Wednesday in Olympia to first-degree theft and forgery for receiving about $19,000 from the state for a job injury claim even though he had returned to work.
A Thurston County Superior Court judge sentenced Owen, the son of state Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, to four months in jail, according to an email from Janelle Guthrie, spokeswoman for the state Attorney General's Office, which charged Owen in March.
Owen, 39, will serve two days in jail and be on electronic home monitoring. He also must pay $17,919 in restitution and $800 in costs. He had been scheduled to go to trial Aug. 27 before deciding to plead guilty. He had plead not guilty in April to four counts of first-degree theft and one count of forgery.
Owen filed an industrial injury claim Nov. 9, 2009 with the state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) after being shot in the arm at work at Kent Body, Paint and Fabrication by Carlos Fernandez, the owner of the business. Fernandez then shot himself and died two days later. The shooting reportedly occurred because of a business dispute between the two men. Owen had partial ownership of the shop.
Owen received medical services and time loss compensation from Nov. 13, 2009 through May 5, 2010, according to charging papers filed in March.
But a state L&I investigation determined Owen returned to work within a couple of days of the injury. Owen withheld that information from the state. He would not have been entitled to time loss compensation had he properly reported his actual return to work date.
Investigators served a search warrant in July 2010 at the business and determined through interviews with co-workers that Owen returned to work within two weeks after the shooting.
Owen told investigators in March 2011 that he had collected time loss compensation while working at the Kent company. He indicated he returned to work two days after the shooting. Owen had signed and completed six worker verification forms in order to collect payments from the state because of his work-related injury.Contact Kent Reporter Courts, government reporter Steve Hunter at email@example.com or 253-872-6600, ext. 5052.