Fire district treasurer pleads guilty to theft

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – A former treasurer of a rural Kansas fire district has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $425,000 from the district and has agreed to pay the money back.

Richard Bontrager of Holton pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of embezzlement. He admitted that from 2008 to 2012 he stole money from the Mayetta fire district by issuing checks with forged signatures to a fictitious company and depositing the money into his account.

The 67-year-old also admitted falsifying loan documents obligating the fire district to make monthly lease payments on a Polaris Ranger and 1988 Chevrolet 1-ton brush truck.

Prosecutors have said the thefts left the district unable to pay its bills.

He faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine when he’s sentenced April 14.

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