SALT LAKE CITY — A former manager with the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation was charged Tuesday with fraudulently contracting his own private company for projects that the state paid for, but in some cases the work was never done.
Daniel Wayne Clark, 59, of Kaysville, was charged by the Utah Attorney General’s Office with five counts of communication fraud, using his position to secure privileges or exemptions, and engaging in a pattern of unlawful activity, all second-degree felonies; and obstruction of a criminal investigation, a third-degree felony.
Clark, who is the president of Colt Paving, was the construction and development manager for the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation from 1997 until June 23, 2020. He oversaw the asphalt repair budget for Utah’s state parks and accepted bids from vendors to make repairs.
However, charging documents allege that Clark awarded multiple contracts to his own company without disclosing that he was the president of the company, and then billed the state for work that was never completed.
Since 2018, Clark submitted 27 invoices from Colt Paving to the state “to obtain payment for work that was not completed by Colt Paving Inc. or was completed by other individuals at five state park locations. The value of the money obtained was $136,350,” charging documents state.
In addition, Clark received more than $1.3 million in compensation by the state by awarding multiple paving and grading contracts to his own business, according to the charges.
Clark is accused of billing the state for maintenance jobs at Antelope Island State Park, East Canyon State Park, Jordanelle State Park, Rockport State Park and Utah Lake State Park that were never finished or were finished by someone else, the charges allege.
The investigation began in March when Utah State Parks and Recreation conducted an internal audit, according to search warrant affidavit. In July, Deputy Director Scott Strong asked to review the audit by checking on a sampling of vendor invoices.
“Scott Strong said as he was reviewing the samples, he noticed one sample stood out for vendor Colt Paving Inc. Scott noticed many of the invoices from Colt Paving Inc. were for just under $5,000, which caused him concern because if a bid is over $5,000 it has to go through a process with different controls. Scott also noticed some of the asphalt repair work was conducted during the winter months, which isn’t typically done,” the warrant states.
Strong then contacted the park managers for Jordanelle and East Canyon and asked if road repair work had been completed in February 2020 as the invoice claimed, The managers told him no, according to the court documents.
After learning he was under investigation, Clark falsified notes from items he purchased at Home Depot, claiming they were for state parks projects, the charges state.
When interviewed in October, Clark told investigators he had completed all the work.
“(He) stated that if he thought the secondary bid was too high, he thought that given his expertise and background in construction, Colt Paving Inc. could do the job a little better and for a lower price,” according to charging documents. “(He) stated that the whole process is rife for abuse due to the lack of two-source verification that projects are completed.”