Former Callaway County Collector Pleads Guilty to Stealing Nearly $300,000
Embezzled Payments Made by Callaway County Taxpayers
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The former Callaway County Collector pleaded guilty in federal court today to embezzling nearly $300,000 from Callaway County taxpayers.
“On more than 100 occasions, this public official stole directly from the people she was elected to represent,” said U.S. Attorney Tim Garrison. “She will be held accountable for violating the public trust and abusing her position. The government will seek a significant prison sentence and repayment of what was stolen from the taxpayers of Callaway County.”
Pamela J. Oestreich, 59, of Fulton, Mo., waived her right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Willie J. Epps, Jr., to a federal information that charges her with one count of stealing from an organization that receives federal funds.
“As Sheriff of Callaway County, I express my sincere gratitude to the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their prompt, professional, and expert assistance,” said Callaway County Sheriff Clay Chism. “Although this investigation could have been conducted on the local level, many factors made it apparent the case should be investigated by a federal agency for prosecution in the federal court system. Of most relevance, myself and Callaway County Prosecuting Attorney Christopher D. Wilson believed it paramount the citizens of Callaway County be assured this matter was handled without the slightest hint of some impropriety. Throughout the investigation, I remained in contact with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to ensure myself, and all other local Callaway County officials, provided any needed assistance.”
Oestreich was elected as the Callaway County Collector in November 2002. By pleading guilty today, Oestreich admitted that she disbursed taxpayer funds for her personal use on 103 occasions beginning in September 2015. Oestreich deposited taxpayer funds directly into her personal bank account. Oestreich also moved taxpayer funds between Callaway County bank accounts to conceal her theft of cash deposits made by taxpayers at the Callaway County Courthouse. The total amount embezzled by Oestreich from Callaway County taxpayers was $299,387.
Oestreich resigned from her office on March 15, 2018, when confronted by the Callaway County Sheriff and FBI agents.
Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, the government and Oestreich have agreed that she will face an advisory sentencing guidelines range of 41 to 51 months of imprisonment in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
Oestreich’s sentence will include mandatory restitution of the stolen funds. During the course of her theft of public money, Oestreich made payments totaling $19,430 from her personal bank account into Callaway County Collector accounts to hide her theft. Consequently, the amount of restitution due and owing to Callaway County as a result of her criminal conduct is $279,957.
This case is being prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver. It was investigated by the Callaway County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.