PLYMOUTH – Keven Joyce, accused of stealing money from the town while managing the Little Red School House, has entered a plea agreement with the state and is ordered to pay $23,676 in restitution to the town.
Joyce, a long time town meeting representative, admitted to sufficient facts on a lone charge of larceny of more than $1,200 in Plymouth District Court. Judge James Sullivan said he would adopt recommendations from prosecutors and the defense to continue the case without a finding for one year, rather than find Joyce guilty of a crime.
Joyce agreed to pay the town $23,676 in restitution and he agreed to “relinquish any and all political positions in the town of Plymouth.”
As part of the agreement, Sullivan dismissed a related charge of withholding evidence from an official proceeding. Another judge dismissed a related charge of embezzlement last summer.
The latest agreement calls for Joyce to pay the town $17,901 immediately — the amount of money in a bank account he opened to collect user fees for the town-owned Little Red School House in Cedarville over a period of several years.
Joyce must also pay back $5,775 that he paid himself for expenses while serving as volunteer manager of the building, which is used for meetings by Girl Scouts and other groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon.
Sullivan placed Joyce on administrative probation for one year, but said the probation would end and the case would be dismissed as soon as Joyce pays the full restitution.
Joyce, 71, declined to comment after the agreement was entered. Defense attorney Jack Atwood called the agreement a “just outcome.”
Local police began investigating Joyce’s role at the Little Red School House in May 2018 after groups that use the building started raising concerns about the money, mostly in cash, they paid for weekly meetings.
Town officials maintained they had never seen any of the money. Police eventually charged Joyce with embezzlement, larceny and withholding evidence, claiming that Joyce stole more than $25,000 from the town.
Joyce maintained his innocence, arguing that most of the money went into a bank account that he never touched. He admitted to taking some money for gas and mileage.
Sullivan said the state’s decision to dismiss the embezzlement charge against Joyce last summer was part of an agreement to resolve the case before trial.
Assistant District Attorney Carolan Blackwood told Sullivan she consulted with Plymouth Town Manager Melissa Arrighi before reaching the agreement with Joyce Monday afternoon. Blackwood said she and Arrighi arrived at the same restitution amount independently.
Atwood insisted that Joyce never intended to steal any money from the town and pointed to the untouched bank account as proof.
“The important thing is he never withdrew any money,” Atwood said.
Reach Rich Harbert at email@example.com.