OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106
APRIL 8, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WATER DISTRICT CLERK INDICTED FOR
$75,000 FRAUD SCHEME
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that the former clerk of two Bates County, Mo., public water districts has been indicted by a federal grand jury for a $75,000 mail fraud scheme.
Valerie Jill Berry, 35, of Butler, Mo., was charged in a six-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City.
According to the indictment, Berry was the sole clerk and bill collector for both the Bates County Public Water Supply Districts No. 1 and No. 6 from July 1, 2001, until she was terminated on Sept. 12, 2008. The business of both water districts is conducted from an office in Butler, and customers of both water districts pay their bills at that location.
The federal indictment alleges that Berry embezzled a total of $75,813 from the two water districts – $8,042 from PWSD No. 1 and $67,771 from PWSD No. 6. When customers paid their bills with cash, the indictment says, Berry credited their accounts for the payments. However, when Berry prepared bank deposit tickets for the payments received from customers, she allegedly included the checks but omitted some of the cash receipts and did not deposit all of the cash received.
In order to conceal her theft, the indictment alleges, Berry submitted fraudulent reports to the state auditor for PWSD No. 1 and provided false information to the auditor for PWSD No. 6, which caused the auditor to submit fraudulent reports to the state.
The indictment charges Berry with six counts of mail fraud, related to the fraudulent reports that she caused to be mailed to the state auditor.
Phillips cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda Parker Marshall. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
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