TOPEKA, KAN. - The former treasurer of the Mayetta Rural Fire District #1 was sentenced Monday to 30 months in federal prison for embezzling from the district, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said. The defendant also was ordered to pay more than $427,000 in restitution.
At sentencing, U.S. District Judge Julie A. Robinson noted that the defendant created a dangerous situation by depleting fire department funds that should have been used to purchase fire equipment.
Richard P. Bontrager, 68, Holton, Kan., pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement. In his plea, he admitted that in 2008 he began embezzling from the fire district by issuing checks with the forged signatures of members of the board of the fire district. The checks were made payable to R & S Services, a fictitious entity Bontrager created so he could deposit the fraudulent checks into his own account at Denison State Bank. From 2008 to 2012 he made approximately $427,042 in unauthorized transfers from the fire district’s accounts.
In addition, without the knowledge of the board of the fire district he falsified loan documents to obligate the fire district to monthly lease payments on a Polaris Ranger UTV and a 1988 Chevrolet 1-ton brush truck. He created false board minutes to make it appear the board had approved the lease payments.
Grissom commended the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI and Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Hathaway for their work on the case.