May 10, 2010
POTTAWATOMIE COUNTY MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO STEALING MORE THAN $500,000 FROM HIS MOTHER’S TRUST FUND
TOPEKA, KAN. –Kent Joseph Gockel, 52, St. Marys, Kan., has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $500,000 from his mother’s trust fund, U.S. Attorney Lanny Welch said today.
Gockel pleaded guilty to 11 counts of bank fraud. In his plea, Gockel admitted that after his father’s death in 2002 he began taking care of his mother’s finances. Gockel’s father, who owned a grocery store in St. Mary’s, Kan., had established two revokable living trusts to provide for his wife and children.
On July 19, 2008, Gockel’s mother learned that her trust account at Silver Lake Bank was overdrawn. A review of bank statements revealed Gockel had been writing checks to himself or to cash from his mother’s accounts without her knowledge.
On Jan. 7, 2009, his mother learned that another account she had at Kaw Valley State Bank had been almost emptied. A review of the account revealed Gockel had wired money or written checks from the trust accounts totaling more than $500,000. Gockel made wire transfers from his mother’s accounts to Hall of Fame Collectables in Allentown, Penn., BMX Entertainment S.A. San Jose, Costa Rica, and Olympus Entertainment Group, St. John’s Antigua, West Indies.
Gockel stole a total of $584,688 through the bank fraud scheme.
Sentencing is set for Aug. 16, 2010. He faces a maximum penalty of 30 years and a fine up to $1 million on each count. Welch commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Hough for their work on the case.