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Ex-treasurer charged with embezzling $427,000 from NE Kansas fire district

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, at 1:11 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, at 8:43 p.m.

A former treasurer of a rural Kansas fire district was charged Tuesday in a Topeka federal court with embezzling more than $427,000 from the district.

Richard P. Bontrager, 67, of Holton was charged with one count of embezzlement while serving as treasurer for the Mayetta Rural Fire District No. 1 in Jackson County, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom’s office said. The criminal information alleges the crime occurred from 2008 to 2013 while Bontrager was managing the finances of the fire district.

Beginning in 2008, Bontrager allegedly began embezzling funds by issuing checks with forged signatures of members of the district’s five-member board of directors. He made the checks payable to a fictitious company he called “R&S Services” to conceal the fact the money was deposited into his personal account, authorities said.

He also is accused of falsifying loan documents to obligate the fire district to make monthly lease payments on a Polaris Ranger UTV and a 1988 Chevrolet 1-ton brush truck. He allegedly created false minutes to make it appear as though the board had approved the lease.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Reach Rick Plumlee at 316-268-6660 or rplumlee@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @rickplumlee.

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