FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct. 13, 2010
FORMER BANK PRESIDENT PLEADS GUILTY TO STEALING $1 MILLION FROM MERIDEN, KAN, BANK
TOPEKA, KAN. – A banker in Jefferson County, Kan., has pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal $1 million from the bank he managed, hide the stolen funds and flee from the United States aboard his own yacht, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.
Scott D. Becker, 50, Meriden, Kan., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court Tuesday to one count of conspiracy to commit bank employee theft and one count of conspiracy to commit perjury, wire fraud and money laundering. In his plea, he admitted the crimes began while he was president and CEO of Countryside Bank, formerly Meriden State Bank. Beginning in 1999, Becker used his knowledge of internal bank operations to steal more than $1 million for his personal use through a series of legal entities he created including Mt. Bethel Trucking, LLC; Mt. Bethel Farms, Inc.; Mt. Bethel Farms, LP; Countryside Square Leasing, Inc.; Countryside Crane Service, LLC; Countryside Excavating LLC; Countryside Mortgage, LLC; Becker and Associates and Becker Farms, Inc.
In 2003, the Kansas Banking Commission determined the bank had a negative net worth. As a result of the examination, Becker was terminated. When he became aware the Federal Bureau of Investigation was looking into the case, Becker developed a scheme to systematically liquidate, transfer and conceal his assets in an effort to prevent creditors and the government from taking them. He sold property in Finney County, recorded a mortgage on real estate he owned falsely representing that his wife had loaned him more than $1 million against the property, purchased a corporation in Panama for the purpose of transferring assets to offshore accounts and bought a 42-foot yacht renamed “Pearls and Boots,” for the purpose of absconding from the United States.
Sentencing is set for Dec. 20, 2010. Prosecutors are recommending a sentence of six years in federal prison. Grissom commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Hathaway and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Kenney for their work on the case.