News and Press Releases

Former CEO of Grocer’s Assn. Who Stole $1.3 Million
Sentenced to 46 months in Federal Prison



June 27, 2011

KANSAS CITY, KAN. – The former CEO of the Retail Grocer's Association in Shawnee Mission, Kan., has been sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for stealing $1.3 million from the organization, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.

John J. Cunningham, 56, Overland Park, Kan., pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. In his plea, he admitted that in July 2009 he was president and CEO of the Retail Grocer’s Association when he was fired for stealing money from the organization. The Retail Grocer’s Association is a non-profit organization that represents the retail food industry in matters involving legislation and trade issues.

Cunningham used three methods to steal $1.3 million: Creating fraudulent money orders to pay personal debts, withdrawing cash from RGA’s bank account at Intrust Bank, and issuing duplicate paychecks to himself. He used the stolen money for a variety of personal purposes including making religious donations, making college donations and payments, paying taxes, paying for golf, paying for home renovations and paying for dry cleaning. The money he stole was in addition to his salary as chief executive, which was more than $178,000 in 2008. When FBI agents served a search warrant at his house, they found more than $290,000 in cash stuffed in boxes in the basement.

Grissom commended the FBI and Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Oakley for their work on the case.



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