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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


BRADLEY J. SCHLOZMAN



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



JANUARY 24, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


FORMER USDA EMPLOYEE INDICTED

FOR EMBEZZLING $150,000


            SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Bradley J. Schlozman, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a former employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture was indicted by a federal grand jury today for stealing more than $150,000 from the rural development program she was employed to administer.


             Martha L. Shuler, 55, of Bolivar, Mo., was charged with embezzling money from the United States in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield. Shuler was employed from 1979 through March 10, 2004, as a community development technician in the Springfield, Mo., office of the USDA. Her responsibilities included helping low income individuals obtain loans and grants from USDA through its rural development program to acquire or improve a home.


             Today’s indictment alleges that in July 2000 Shuler began creating fictitious rural development loans and grants, causing the proceeds from these loans and grants to be diverted for her own benefit. Shuler also allegedly diverted payments to the USDA related to rural development loans for her own benefit, and diverted the proceeds from legitimate rural development loans and grants for her own benefit. The indictment alleges a series of financial transactions in which Shuler embezzled federal funds as part of that scheme.


             Despite the fact that a supervisor confronted Shuler on March 10, 2004, about a fictitious rural development loan, and subsequently recovered loan files (including two files for fictitious loans) from Shuler’s home, the indictment says, Shuler’s scheme continued through at least March 18, 2004.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas C. Bunch. It was investigated by the Office of Inspector General – U.S. Department of Agriculture.


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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