A prominent Tucson financial adviser has been sentenced to probation and ordered to pay more than $150,000 in fines and restitution for embezzling funds from a charity he oversaw.
James W. Murphy, formerly with Morgan Stanley and on the boards of numerous charitable organizations, was sentenced in Pima County Superior Court on Friday to 2½ years’ probation after pleading guilty to theft.
Murphy, 68, had been trustee of the Elizabeth Parkman Foundation, a nonprofit organization that awarded grants to many area charities.
“What a breach of loyalty and an abuse of trust,” Rosalie Parkman said at the sentencing.
Parkman’s mother, for whom the foundation was named, started the charity in the 1960s.
Elizabeth Parkman died at 98 in 2009. By that time Murphy had taken over the primary duties of running the foundation because Elizabeth Parkman was frail, nearly blind and suffering with dementia, Rosalie Parkman said.
Murphy was accused of using his position as trustee to buy many personal items such as vintage cars and vacations using the foundation’s money.
As part of the plea agreement, Murphy was required to apologize for the theft of foundation money.
“I’m very remorseful,” Murphy said in his brief apology.
Murphy’s attorney, Skip Donau, said the episode has cost his client $600,000, the loss of professional accreditations and many friendships.
Despite a history of philanthropy and volunteer work, Donau said Murphy would forever carry the stain of this event.
“He will be known for his last bad act,” he said.
Donau noted that Murphy had never charged the foundation a fee for the trustee services he provided, which he said likely would have been greater than the total amount of money he embezzled.
In addition to the probation, Murphy has repaid the foundation more than $115,000 and paid $47,000 to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office’s anti-racketeering fund.
Murphy also was ordered to serve a year of community service.
Despite his making good on the restitution, Rosalie Parkman said the problems Murphy’s malfeasances created continue.
She said the foundation faces late fees from the Internal Revenue Service and has incurred additional attorney and accounting fees.
Murphy originally faced six counts of theft and two counts of fraudulent schemes and artifices.