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Missouri CFO’s ‘lavish lifestyle’ funded by embezzling $3.8 million, prosecutors say

A crime both small and big businesses are victims of: embezzlement

Ever wonder what embezzlement is? This white collar crime is hurting businesses all over.
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Ever wonder what embezzlement is? This white collar crime is hurting businesses all over.

A Missouri chief financial officer was charged with three counts of wire fraud after prosecutors accused him of embezzling $3.8 million “for his own personal use.”

Bryan Vonderahe, 45, of Kirkwood, Missouri, was charged last week in a federal indictment, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Missouri.

In the indictment, Vonderahe is alleged to have written himself about 500 company checks — totaling about $3.8 million — from January 2012 through January 2019, the release states. He was working for the “local company” as a CFO and controller.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the man worked for “the Boyd Group, which owns real estate and runs mattress and waterbed retailers The Bedroom Store, Boyd Sleep and Accent Furniture, the indictment says.”

The attorney’s office accuses Vonderahe of scheming to defraud the company over the course of the seven years.

“The indictment alleges that Vonderahe falsified internal company records and issued false financial statements to the company’s outside auditors in order to cover up and conceal his fraud scheme,” the release states.

Prosecutors say the chief financial officer used the stolen and embezzled funds “for his own personal use, unrelated to the legitimate business of the company, including to pay for a lavish lifestyle,” the release states.

They accuse him of using that money to “pay for travel for himself and his family to locations such as Florida, Colorado, and Nevada; to make payments on his personal residential mortgage; and to pay for gambling and related activities,” the release states.

A federal judge issued seizure warrants for a GMC Acadia Denali and a Land Rover, Range Rover Sport in connection to the indictment, the attorney’s office said in the news release.

“The Indictment seeks forfeiture of Vonderahe’s residence on Windy Hill Road in Kirkwood, Missouri, and a second residence on Chardin Place in St. Louis, Missouri,” the release states.

The FBI is investigating.

If Vonderahe is convicted, he faces a $250,000 fine and up to 20 years in prison.

Former city treasurer Ryan Thorpe, 44, of the small Southern Illinois town of Zeigler, was sentenced to four years in prison for stealing more than $321,000. He had expensive tastes. Here's how he spent the embezzled funds.

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