Circuit Judge James Fensom sentenced Joseph Gable Wood to five years in prison on Thursday for partying with money that had been donated in the name of the Wounded Warrior Project.
Wood, 44, of Panama City, pleaded no contest Friday to organizing a scheme to defraud, three counts of grand theft and five counts of petit theft.
On Feb. 1, 2012, Wood started promoting a charitable event called “Tour De Beach” and collected money that he claimed would be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project. Assistant
State Attorney Matt Pavese told Fensom that they know of $13,000 that Wood collected, but the total amount might be closer to $20,000.
A month later, sponsors tried to contact Wood to find out how much had been raised.
When he didn’t return their calls, they called Wounded Warrior and were told that no donations had been received from Wood.
Police interviewed Wood on Oct. 19 and he told them he’d been living off the donations and spending the money primarily on social events and alcohol. He said it had always been a money-making scheme and he’d never intended to donate the money.
As a part of the five years probation that will follow Wood’s prison sentence, Fensom ordered him to pay back the money he stole, one-fifth of the total per year.