Former Fort Collins theater manager Matt Strauch sent to prison

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By John Moore
Aug. 2, 2013

Former Bas Bleu Theatre general manager Matt Strauch was sentenced to four years in prison today for violating terms of his sentencing.

Last year, Strauch pleaded guilty to stealing more than $40,000 from Bas Bleu and a Fort Collins charter school. Prior to his plea deal, Strauch could have faced up to 12 years in prison and restitution of up to $750,000. Instead, Chief District Court Judge Stephen J. Schapanski sentenced Strauch to four years in a community corrections facility. That would allow him to continue to work, so that he could begin to pay restitution to his victims.

But at that sentencing hearing last year, Schapanski made it clear that Strauch would not be given a second chance if he violated any terms of his sentence. Recently, Strauch was caught drinking alcohol in a bar, and also tampering with his tests.

His Community Corrections case worker immediately recommended that Strauch’s original sentence be terminated, and that he be sent to the Department of Corrections.

Strauch will be credited for time already served, making him eligible for release in March 2016.

In December 2011, Strauch was a student working toward his second bachelor’s degree at CSU while working as general manager at Bas Bleu Theatre, and serving as a board treasurer at T.R. Paul Academy of Arts and Knowledge.

Strauch was first caught stealing money in 2008, but no charges were filed. Foul play was suspected again when a donor alerted Bas Bleu in December 2011 about a $2,600 check that had been deposited into a bank account created by Strauch, a former director of finance for the Associated Students of CSU.

A police investigation found that Strauch had created a false bank account under Bas Bleu’s name, ultimately stealing $25,910.90. Police soon found he had done a similar thing to the charter school, making five unauthorized counter withdrawals on its accounts and writing four unauthorized checks to Bas Bleu from the school.

The total losses for both organizations equaled $41,881.93.

While Strauch’s ability to pay restitution will slow while Strauch is in prison, restitution never goes away, and his obligations will continue after his release until it is fully paid.

Wire services contributed to this report.