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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD



Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html



APRIL 16, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


FORMER FAMILY COURT COMMISSIONER PLEADS GUILTY

TO FAILING TO REPORT ATTORNEY’S LOAN


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a former Clay County Family Court Commissioner pleaded guilty in federal court today to failing to report that he solicited and received a loan from an attorney who appeared before him in court.


             Patrick D. Beeman, 54, of Kansas City, Mo., waived his right to a grand jury indictment and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs this morning to a federal information that charges him with mail fraud for failing to report a loan from an attorney on a disclosure report filed with the Missouri Supreme Court, thus defrauding citizens of the right to his honest services as the Clay County Family Court Commissioner.


             “The public has the right to expect a judge or commissioner to be fair and impartial, with no hidden conflict of interest,” Wood said. “By secretly soliciting a loan from an attorney who practiced before him, Commissioner Beeman undermined the public’s confidence in the integrity of the judicial system.


             “No one, not even a judge or commissioner, is above the law. Public integrity is a top priority for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, because we have a fundamental obligation to ensure that public servants are serving the public’s interest, and not their own.”


             Beeman served as family court commissioner from his appointment on Jan. 1, 2000, until he resigned effective June 30, 2005. The duties of the family court commissioner include hearing family court (including juvenile) cases referred to the commissioner by a circuit judge and preparing and submitting findings and recommendations to the circuit judge. As a family court commissioner, Beeman was prohibited from receiving money from attorneys or others with interests in the cases over which he presided.


             On July 11 and 12, 2002, Beeman solicited and received a $3,500 personal loan of money from an attorney who represented parties in cases over which Beeman presided. That loan has not been repaid.


             Beeman knowingly omitted the loan from his Public Report of Extra-Judicial Income filed with the Clerk of the Missouri Supreme Court for the year 2002, in order to avoid disclosure of the loan. That report was delivered by mail from Beeman to the Clerk of the Missouri Supreme Court on April 17, 2003.


            Under federal statutes, Beeman could be subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda Parker Marshall. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html