The former treasurer of the Mayetta Rural Fire District #1 in Jackson County, Kan., has been charged in federal court with embezzling more than $427,000 from the district, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.
Richard P. Bontrager, 67, Holton, Kan., was charged in a criminal information filed today in U.S. District Court in Topeka with one count of embezzlement. The criminal information alleges the crime occurred from 2008 to 2013 while Bontrager was managing the finances of the fire district, which serves a 121-square-mile area including the town and nearby rural community. Beginning in 2008, Bontrager 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.
The criminal information also alleges he falsified loan documents to obligate the fire district to make monthly lease payments on a Polaris Ranger UTV and a 1988 Chevrolet one-ton brush truck. He created false minutes to make it appear the board had approved the lease.
If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Hathaway is prosecuting.