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POLSON – A Missoula resident faces up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges he embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from his former employer in Polson.

Joshua Davis King, 33, admitted that for approximately five years he used his position as manager of the tool department at Western Building Center in Polson to order extra tools paid for by WBC that King then sold on eBay.

King pleaded guilty to wire fraud before U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen this week.

According to court documents, King told authorities he estimated he had stolen $280,000 from Western Building Center between 2006 and Jan. 29, 2011.

In an offer of proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan R. Whittaker, the government said it would have shown at trial that King added additional items when he ordered from WBC’s suppliers, but did not enter them into WBC’s inventory.

Instead, he advertised them on eBay under the screen name “wbctool.”

“King then used eBay, in conjunction with PayPal, to collect and receive the proceeds from individual eBay users who purchased the tools,” the offer of proof stated. “The funds collected by King from the tool sales were not returned to WBC, but instead were put to King’s own use and benefit. King used his personal PayPal debit card to access, receive and spend the proceeds from the embezzled and stolen tools.”

Whittaker said King devised the scheme, “and thereafter transmitted and caused to be transmitted in interstate commerce writings, signs and signals to execute the scheme.”

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Examples of the tools King sold on eBay, according to the documents, were Dewalt nine-pack combo kits and Makita four-piece tool kits.

On Friday, you could find information on eBay indicating the Dewalt kits normally retail for $1,129.99, but could be purchased on the Internet site for $899.

The documents say King was interviewed by law enforcement at the Lake County Sheriff’s Office in May 2011.

King “stated that during his employment with WBC, he would ‘take items and sell them on eBay,’ ” the offer of proof says. “He also stated that he would ‘keep the money’ from the sale of these items on his PayPal account.”

King allegedly told authorities he would sneak one or two extra items into his regular orders for Western Building Center.

The U.S. Secret Service and Lake County Sheriff’s Office cooperated in the investigation.

King is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 14. He faces possible penalties of up to 20 years in prison, $250,000 in fines and a three-year supervised release.

Reporter Vince Devlin can be reached at 1-800-366-7186 or at vdevlin@missoulian.com.

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