Treasurer of City of Zeigler, IL Indicted On Fraud and Embezzlement Charges
Yesterday, a federal grand jury for the Southern District of Illinois returned a five count indictment charging Ryan A. Thorpe, 44, of Zeigler, IL, with wire fraud and embezzlement from a local government, announced Donald S. Boyce, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois. The charges against Thorpe relate to events which occurred while Thorpe worked as the Treasurer for the City of Zeigler.
The indictment charges that from March 4, 2013, through August 3, 2017, Thorpe embezzled more than $300,000 by writing checks to himself drawn on the City of Zeigler’s general account. The indictment further alleges that Thorpe concealed his thefts from the City of Zeigler by altering the copies of the checks that were sent to the city each month by the city’s bank. According to the indictment, Thorpe "whited out" his name in the payee section of these checks, wrote in the names of vendors and suppliers that the city did business with, photocopied the altered checks, placed these photocopies in the bank records kept by the city, and then shredded the copies of the checks with the "white out." In addition, the indictment states that Thorpe further concealed his thefts by submitting false monthly Treasurer’s Reports to the Zeigler City Council.
Thorpe is charged with three counts of wire fraud and two counts of embezzlement from a local government. Each of the wire fraud counts carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Each count of embezzlement from a local government carries a maximum sentence of 10 years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of numerous items Thorpe is alleged to have purchased with embezzled funds. Those items include: two side-by-side Utility Task Vehicles; two motorcycles; a portable building; lots in the City of Zeigler; a utility trailer; numerous firearms; and a lady’s diamond ring.
The arraignment for Thorpe will be conducted on Thursday, October 19, 2017, at 11:00 a.m. at the Federal Courthouse in Benton, IL.
An indictment is a formal charge against a defendant. Under the law, a defendant is presumed to be innocent of a charge until proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to the satisfaction of a jury.
The investigation was conducted by agents from the Springfield Division, Marion, IL Resident Agency, of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"). The Franklin County Sheriff’s Department assisted in the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Scott A. Verseman.