Fry Foods Inc., a food processing plant headquartered in Tiffin, Ohio, filed a lawsuit Aug. 26 against Wold six days after he was handed charges in Malheur County Circuit Court. (The Enterprise/Ardeshir Tabrizian)

ONTARIO – Payroll records for Fry Foods showed Jose Flores getting pay on June 19 of $1,274.46.

But that wasn’t right, according to a recent court filing in Boise.

Flores hadn’t worked for the company for a month, and received his final pay two weeks earlier.

And the paycheck itself wasn’t made out to Flores.

The payee instead was Douglas Arnold Wold – then Fry Foods’ local human resources director, according to the court record.

The check, Fry Foods later maintained in its court filing, was a fraud.

 Wold, 48, now stands charged in Malheur County in connection with the fraudulent checks, accused of a paycheck scheme that over the summer diverted more than $100,000 to his personal account.

And Fry Foods wants its money back. The food company late last month sued Wold in Ada County District Court in Boise, laying out what it said was Wold’s fraudulent efforts to steal company money.

Company officials, however, have not explained how they hired a person to oversee its personnel department who was on parole for theft convictions and had other criminal convictions dating back nearly 30 years. Company officials didn’t return telephone messages and its Boise attorney didn’t respond to emailed questions.

Wold has been in court before, facing an Idaho state judge in 2012 who criticized Wold’s pursuit of the good life through criminal conduct. At that sentencing, a state report concluded that Wold feels “he is entitled to have whatever he wants even if he has to lie, cheat or steal to get it.”

Wold couldn’t explain his conduct.

“I don’t know how to stop it,” he told the judge.

Last Sunday, he struck a different tone in responding to written questions from the Enterprise.

“The truth is that I’m not as much the story as Fry Foods is or will be when all of the facts and financials come to light,” Wold said. In an email, he declined further comment and asked not to be contacted again.

Doug A. Wold (Idaho Department of Correction file)

TROUBLE EARLY

Wold grew up in the Coeur d’Alene area. In 1991, at age 19, he was convicted of second-degree theft, his first felony conviction, according to court records.

In 1993, he was convicted in Moscow of resisting police and sentenced to six days in jail and convicted of attempting to elude police, receiving probation. In Coeur D’Alene, he was convicted of fraud and forgery in two separate cases. Court records show he was sentenced to a year state prison on the forgery charge, credited with 262 days already served. More than a decade later, he would still owe more than $4,000 in restitution.

By 1996, he was in the Boise area, racking up more convictions, again for forgery and now grand theft. He was put on probation.

What he did for living while on probation couldn’t be established, but he married in 2001 and later had three sons. In 2005, he became a licensed real estate appraiser in Idaho, building a successful company as the Boise real estate market boomed.

Then, in December 2007, Wold went to his office and set it on fire. The gasoline he used exploded, badly burning him.

Prosecutors charged him with arson and insurance fraud. He negotiated a plea in 2010, admitting the arson and getting the fraud charges dropped. Ada County District Judge Thomas Neville imposed a 20-year prison sentence but suspended it, putting Wold in county jail for a year and then on probation. Wold also was to repay two insurance companies $134,000.

He was sentenced to jail in 2011 for violating his probation and his wife filed for divorce two months later. The divorce was final the following year. (She died of health issues in 2013.)

Wold also spent about four months at North Idaho Correctional Institution in Cottonwood, Idaho, for inmates “who might, after a period of programming and evaluation, be viable candidates for probation rather than incarceration,” according to the institution’s website.

“The court found that Mr. Wold had successfully completed the programming and released him on probation on Sept. 12, 2011,” said a spokesperson for the Idaho Department of Correction.

In early 2012, the Meridian Police Department responded to reports of boat motors and a fuel tank being stolen from storage facilities.

Police used surveillance video from one storage facility to identify a suspect ­– tenant Doug Wold.

Police traced buyers of the stolen motors, who found them on a Craigslist account that used Wold’s email.

Wold initially disputed police suspicions.

“He stated I was ‘twisting’ things around,” a Meridian officer wrote after arresting Wold in the case on March 13, 2012.

Wold later admitted he had posted photos of boat motors he had seen in the storage units and then went back and stole them when he had a buyer, according to the police reports.

“Douglas apologized for how he lied and talked to me on the date of his arrest,” a later police report said.

Wold pleaded guilty to four counts of grand theft and was ordered to pay more than $13,000 in total restitution to 10 people and two insurers.

At his sentencing, the prosecutor and Neville, the judge, described Wold’s criminal history and behavior. The new charges left Wold with a record of 10 felony convictions.

Neville noted the past occasions when he showed Wold “very substantial leniency and mercy” by putting him on probation and into treatment programs.

“I’ve done back flips in the past to keep you out of prison,” the judge said.

No more.

“He still seems to place a high value on material items, and presenting himself as if he were wealthy. Mr. Wold has demonstrated that he has little boundaries when it comes to achieving his desired financial status,” a state investigator wrote.

The state investigator said Wold owed restitution and had substantial credit card debts. With the new amounts owed for the boat motors, Wold would be facing more than $200,000 in debt.

“He claims that he doesn’t have any money for child support,” the prosecutor said, “and yet he admits to drinking 12-plus beers per night, going to bars and spending $480 per month on alcohol.”

At the sentencing, the prosecutor read from a report that described Wold as a manipulative person with “deeply seated criminal behaviors.” The prosecutor said Wold would “do whatever it takes to maintain that status, to maintain that appearance, and to live beyond his means.”

The prosecutor concluded that Wold was stealing boat motors not to pay off his debts but “to maintain that lifestyle.”

He said of Wold that there was “no reason to believe he's not gonna steal, and continue to victimize people if he's out in the community,” he said.

Wold’s attorney said Wold “lost his path” but “from day one my client wanted to take accountability for these new crimes. He knows what he did is awful.”

Wold spoke of remorse.

“I wish I had better answers for the court. I wish I had better answers for my family and my friends, my children, I don't have them,” he said.

Wold was sentenced to a minimum of five years on the earlier arson conviction and four years for the new thefts.

He was paroled from an Idaho prison on March 11, 2016. Not long after, he married a Los Angeles-area entrepreneur who had moved to Boise.

NEW JOB

Wold lists on one social media account that he studied human resources management at Boise State University and on June 3, 2019, went to work for Fry Foods.

The company said in its recent complaint that Wold managed personnel at Fry Food plants in Ontario and Weiser. His “responsibilities included managing relationships with employees to support an ‘issue-free’ workplace strategy” and managing staffing processes, according to the complaint.

The scheme to steal company payroll money started at least in May 2020, according to the indictment and separate civil court complaint.

The filings said company payroll records indicating Fry Foods paychecks had been recorded as going to people who no longer worked for the company – or never did. In May, three such paychecks were issued.

In the coming weeks, according to the indictment and complaint, 57 fraudulent checks were issued in the names of 37 people. Among the names used were variations of Wold’s teenaged sons.

The company complaint and indictment also accused Wold of using the coronavirus pandemic to steal.

In July, he submitted an invoice for $39,995 to be paid to a company called Hala Lallo Health, according to the lawsuit.

Wold told a company official the invoice was for “the mass COVID-19 testing we did for both facilities back in May.” Wold had told local reporters that a nonprofit called Crush the Curve had done the testing.

The Hala Lallo invoice was paid in July, sent to an address in Idaho. The complaint said the check cleared the bank on July 24 – three days after documents creating the company were submitted to Idaho state authorities. Doug Wold was listed as the company owner.

“Fry Foods had no knowledge that Hala Lallo Health was associated in any way with Mr. Wold” and believed “it was paying an entity for conducting COVID-19 testing of its employees,” according to Fry Foods’ lawsuit.

Malheur County Sheriff Brian Wolfe later said that a $19,000 invoice by the actual testing company was recovered from Wold – unpaid.

In its complaint, the company listed what it said were fraudulent paychecks ranging from $1,200 to $2,400, but that they were “only some of the instances of the fraudulent activity committed by Mr. Wold.”

The indictment accuses Wold of stealing $126,995 from Fry Foods.

The last batch of fraudulent checks were issued Aug. 19.

Wold was arrested by sheriff’s detectives as he left an Ontario accounting firm that day with the latest batch of paychecks for Fry Foods.

Wold “was observed and caught in the act,” according to a statement from Wolfe.

He was jailed on theft and identity theft charges but released after his wife posted a security payment.

On Aug. 27, Wold was indicted on 19 counts of aggravated theft, identity theft, and forgery.

Wold faces the charges in Malheur County while on active parole in Idaho.

“Parole violators have the option to continue hearings until their charges are adjudicated,” said Ashley Dowell, executive director of the Idaho Commission for Pardons and Parole. “It is worth noting, Mr. Wold is not in violation status currently and the commission has not received a report of violation for him.”

Wold is scheduled to enter his plea to the Malheur County charges on Dec. 2.

The judge who sent him to Idaho prison eight years ago urged Wold to change.

“I think you can achieve something over the long term, but you have to make fundamental self-change,” Neville said. “In order for you to be successful, you simply have to internalize what you learn, take it on board and then apply. You've never done that. You're not stupid. You've had the ability to do it from day one. You've just never chosen to do it up to now.”

Editor Les Zaitz and reporter Pat Caldwell contributed to this report.

News tip? Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian by email at [email protected] or call 503-929-3053.

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