A former Provo travel agency owner who pleaded guilty more than a year ago to seven felony counts was ordered to prison Tuesday by a 4th District judge.
Judge Lynn W. Davis revoked a certificate of probable cause and ordered Donald R. Thorup to begin serving a one-to-15-year sentence handed down by retired Judge George E. Ballif in November 1991.Thorup, former owner of Kimo's Escorted Tours, pleaded guilty Oct. 18, 1991, in a plea bargain to four counts of computer fraud, one count of theft, one count of communications fraud and one count of racketeering. He was originally charged with 80 felony counts.
State investigators said Thorup bilked more than $175,000 from about 80 customers by not providing them trips for which they had paid. Most of the customers were retired couples. Also, Thorup double-billed some customers who paid with credit cards.
Just prior to being sentenced, Thorup asked to withdraw his guilty pleas. He said his attorney coerced him into pleading guilty by placing pressure on family members. Ballif denied the motion. When accepting Thorup's pleas, Ballif spent more than 30 minutes questioning Thorup about whether he understood the consequences of the pleas.
After sentencing Thorup, however, Ballif issued a certificate of probable cause that allowed Thorup to stay out of prison while appealing the ruling. Ballif said the issue of undue influence was important and one the higher courts should rule on.
Last month, the Court of Appeals upheld Ballif's decision not to allow Thorup to withdraw his plea. Thorup has since filed a writ of certiorari with the Utah Supreme Court.
Harry Caston, Thorup's attorney, argued Tuesday that the original certificate of probable cause should remain in effect until the Supreme Court decides whether to hear the case. Assistant Attorney General Sheila Page said it's unlikely that the Supreme Court will review the case and said there is no legal reason for Thorup to remain free. Davis agreed with Page and sent Thorup to prison.