Mike Gilliland
Mike Gilliland

Michael Gilliland, the former Sunflower Farmers Markets CEO accused of soliciting sex from a woman he believed to be a minor, was sentenced today in a Phoenix courtroom to 30 days in jail after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor count of attempted pandering.

As part of his plea agreement, Gilliland also will serve one year of supervised probation, said Jerry Cobb, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.

Gilliland also was granted a furlough arrangement in which he'll serve two 15-day terms and be released for one week in between to run his businesses, Cobb said.

Gilliland's term started Tuesday.

Gilliland told the court that he regretted his mistake and the damage caused, according to an Associated Press report.

Gilliland, a founder and former CEO of Boulder-bred natural grocers Wild Oats Markets and Sunflower Farmers Markets, was arrested in February 2011 following a prostitution sting by undercover Phoenix Police Department officers.

He was indicted on accusations he knowingly solicited and offered to pay $100 for sex with a woman — an undercover female police officer — whom he believed to be 17 years old, according to Maricopa County court documents.

Gilliland initially was charged with a felony count of child prostitution. In August, he pleaded guilty to a felony count of attempted pandering.

According to AP, his potential sentence ranged from solely probation to as much as 18 months jail time.

After leaving Wild Oats, Gilliland started Sunflower Farmers Market in 2002. He resigned from his post as CEO and chairman of Sunflower after his arrest.

Earlier this year, Phoenix-based Sprouts Farmers Markets acquired Sunflower.