BENTON, Ill. (AP) — Former Zeigler City Treasurer Ryan Thorpe has been sentenced to four years in prison for embezzling more than $300,000 from the city over a four-year period.
Thorpe was indicted by a federal grand jury on wire fraud and embezzlement from a local government charges.
Thorpe was accused of stealing more than $315,000 from the city of Ziegler between Jan. 1, 2013, and Aug. 31, 2017. The theft was uncovered by an audit.
According to the Department of Justice, Thorpe wrote checks to himself from the city of Ziegler.
Investigators said Thorpe took the checks and “whited out” his name in the payee section of the checks, wrote in the names of vendors and suppliers that the city did business with, made copies of the altered checks and placed those copies in the bank records kept by the city. Thorpe then allegedly shredded the “whited out” copies of the checks.
Thorpe concealed his theft further by submitting false monthly Treasurer’s Reports to the Zeigler City Council, according to a release from the Department of Justice.
Thorpe attorney Randy Patchett asked U.S. District Judge Staci Yandle for leniency, noting his client’s attempts to support his family and his cooperation with prosecutors.
In sentencing Thorpe on Tuesday, Yandle said she couldn’t exercise more compassion or care for Thorpe’s family than Thorpe did in defrauding the citizens he was hired to serve.
(Information for parts of this story provided by sister station WRXX in Centralia.)