News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Oct. 20, 2010

FORMER BANK VICE PRESIDENT PLEADS GUILTY TO HELPING BANK PRESIDENT CONCEAL THEFT


TOPEKA, KAN. – The former vice president of a bank in Jefferson County, Kan., has pleaded guilty to concealing the fact the bank’s president embezzled more than $1 million, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.

Stephanie R. Smith, 34, Meriden, Kan., pleaded guilty to one count of misprision, the crime of failing to report a felony. In her plea, Smith admitted that while she was vice president of Countryside Bank in Meriden, Kan., she knew that bank president Scott D. Becker was diverting bank funds for his own use. She was aware that Becker circumvented proper loan approval processes in order to establish loans that appeared to be made to a bank customer but were in fact made for Becker’s benefit. Becker used the money to fund the operation of his various personal business interests and to support his personal lifestyle.

Smith admitted that at the time of the crime she was a member of the bank’s loan committee and board of directors, secretary of Countryside Bank’s holding company and part owner in various business entities controlled by Becker.

Smith is set for sentencing Jan. 10, 2010. She faces a maximum penalty of three years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.

Co-defendant Becker is set for sentencing Dec. 20, 2010. Co-defendant Michael R. Wurm is set for jury trial Jan. 25, 2011.

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.

 


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