Justice caught up with Francis Robert “Bob” Fritzky in U.S. District Court on Friday.
The former Moraga resident and treasurer of the Moraga Community Foundation found himself looking at 18 months in federal prison – not quite the sentence the people he bilked out of more than $300,000 in 2018 and ’19 had wished for – but enough to satisfy a judge who waved off the former scout leader’s last-minute plea for mercy.
At the end of a lengthy string of delays, legal change-ups, a recent COVID diagnosis and almost two years after the man friends said “you just felt you could count on” walked off with their money, Fritzky asked for a break from U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar Friday.
“I accept responsibility for my actions,” Fritzky told the judge. “I have had the opportunity to read about other nonprofit embezzlement cases and understand… their motivation. I did not do it just to buy more watches, more TVs or homes. The motivation was not to get rich – it was just to try and make it. I ask for your mercy.”
Although he’d sought 12 months of home incarceration followed by three years of supervised release for his client, attorney Randall Luskey acknowledged that “there are a number of people in Moraga who are angry with Mr. Fritzky for what he did. Mr. Fritzky acknowledges and understands their anger. He is deeply apologetic for the breach of the community trust, the damage done to the reputation of the Moraga Community Foundation, and the money that remains unreimbursed.”
Fritzky was represented at the hearing by federal public defender Graham Archer, who replaced Luskey.
Townspeople who loaned money to the former scout leader, running coach and chamber of commerce president, had pushed for a harsher sentence, pointing out that not only is the money Fritzky took from them long gone, but that since-stipulated restitution payments of $5,000 per month have gone unpaid for months.
Judge Tigar scheduled a hearing to address those concerns on Nov. 5.
Fritzky’s date with justice has been circuitous, with the defendant free to remain in his Moraga home over the intervening years, occasionally observed by those he had betrayed as his periodic court hearings were delayed and choice of lawyers abruptly changed. He has since moved to a neighboring community.
It was in early September 2019 that the Moraga Community Foundation for which he was treasurer revealed that Fritzky had made unauthorized withdrawals between June 2016 and August 2019, siphoning more than $330,000 from MCF’s bank accounts to himself, to his majority-owned company MedMatRx, LLC and to the Jeanette Fritzky Foundation, a non-profit he founded in honor of his late wife and which he controlled.
Fritzky pleaded guilty to the two felony counts on Aug. 21, 2020.
On Friday, Judge Tigar ordered that Fritzky refrain from holding a position of fiduciary responsibility; that he pay restitution to his victims; that he be subject to police search of his phones and computers; that he be housed in a federal facility as close to the San Francisco Bay Area as possible; and that he surrender to the Marshal’s office at 5 p.m. on Nov. 8.