A Federal Way escrow officer has been sentenced to five years in prison—a harsher than normal sentence for stealing more than half a million dollars from his clients.

Ted J. Grimes has been sentenced in King County Superior Court after being convicted earlier this year of eight counts of theft involving more than $614,000. He was an owner and the Designated Escrow Officer for Pacific Coast Escrow Inc. in Federal Way.

When contacted by the Business Examiner, he declined to comment on the case.

The Prosecutor’s Office had asked for the exceptional sentence based on Grimes’ alleged abuse of his position. Grimes must pay restitution in addition to meeting restrictions that include a ban on his obtaining a job with access to funds without prior notification to the Court. A hearing to determine the amount of restitution will be Oct. 22 at 9 a.m.

John L. Bley, director of the state Department of Financial Institutions, says the sentence “sends a strong message to escrow officers throughout the state.”

By Kamilla K. McClelland, Business Examiner staff