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Press Release

Former St. Louis Parks Division Deputy Commissioner And Chief Of Park Rangers Plead Guilty To Fraud Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri

St. Louis, MO – JOSEPH VACCA, Former Deputy Commissioner of the St. Louis Parks Division,  and THOMAS STRITZEL, Former Chief of the St. Louis Park Rangers, pled guilty to charges that they defrauded the City of St. Louis of approximately one-half million dollars by submitting false invoices for materials and services supplied to the Parks Division.  Both defendants appeared before United States District Judge Jackson in St. Louis.

According to court documents, from January 1, 2005, to December 31, 2012, Vacca and Stritzel embezzled funds of the City of St. Louis based upon the submission of sham and false invoices which included false charges of approximately $464,722.  They used the funds for their own personal use, including lease payments on personal vehicles, fuel costs, the payment of personal credit card charges and other personal living expenses unrelated to the legitimate operations of the St. Louis Parks Division.

Vacca and Stritzel set up a sham company called Dynamic Management and then funneled city funds received through the submission of false and sham invoices to Dynamic Management’s bank account.  Vacca and Stritzel then used those fraudulently obtained funds for their own personal use, including leasing personal vehicles, payment of fuel costs and the payment of personal credit card charges.

These charges carry a penalty range of twenty (20) years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentences, a Judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.  Sentencings have been set for December 12, 2013.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney Hal Goldsmith is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Updated March 19, 2015