TAMPA — Kevin Guy helped kids grow, even other people's kids. Adults trusted and admired him. Even the federal agent who built a fraud case against Guy vouched for him Monday in federal court.
But good deeds can't offset years of theft, U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore decided at Guy's sentencing hearing.
Guy must serve 37 months in prison for conspiring with his wife to steal and cash $2.2 million in employee incentive gift cards from HSBC Mortgage Services, where Michelle Guy worked. His attorney had asked for probation.
"This is too calculated," Whittemore said. "It went on for too long. It's just too much money."
Michelle Guy, scheduled to be sentenced June 19, forged a former supervisor's signature on invoices while ordering bundles of the cards, up to $56,000 at a time, she admitted in a plea agreement. The practice went on for 4 1/2 years, until the company detected it through an internal investigation.
Kevin Guy, until recently a recreation leader for Hillsborough County, converted the cards to cash, he admitted.
The wife made lavish purchases of designer clothing and the husband fed a sports betting addiction that mental health counselor Damon Dye described on Monday as "pathological."
In court, defense attorney Brian Gonzalez talked about the thousands of children Kevin Guy has mentored. A grown nephew with a recent history of military service testified that he might be in jail if not for Guy.
Guy, addressing the judge, said he knew all along that what he was doing was wrong. "I felt so embarrassed when I talked to kids about right and wrong, because I knew inside what I had done." He rued the destruction of his middle-class life, 22-year work history and once felony-free past. He said he realized that, with the conviction, he has likely lost the ability to work with children. He said he had let his young daughters down. He expressed appreciation for the kindness other kids have shown them. He politely thanked courtroom officials for their time.
Secret Service Special Agent Jeff Katon said Guy, once confronted, was the most honest suspect he had encountered in 16 years on the job. "He definitely touched me in a way that I'll feel for a long time," Katon told the judge.
In addition to the prison sentence, Guy was ordered to pay restitution of $2.2 million, a debt his wife likely will share when she's sentenced, and to complete three years of supervised release.
Patty Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3382.