Former City Treasurer Sentenced for Embezzlement
By West Kentucky Star Staff
BENTON, IL - The former treasurer of Zeigler has been sentenced for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the city. 

The U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of Illinois says Ryan Thorpe appeared in U.S. District Court in Benton and received a sentence of four years in prison. He must also pay full restitution of $321,399.22 to the city and its insurance carrier.

Since he had purchased numerous items with the money, his guilty plea agreement on March 1 noted that Thorpe could return those items to the city and be given credit toward the full restitution amount. Those items include a side-by-side UTV, two motorcycles, a utility trailer, a lady's diamond ring, numerous guns, a gun safe, and a four-propeller drone, with a total value of $35,872.74. 

Thorpe has also forfeited property and assets to the court, including another UTV, a portable building, a lot and trailer, five more pieces of property in town, two IRA accounts worth about $9,000 and a camper. These assets will be sold and added to Thorpe's restitution effort.

A federal grand jury in October indicted Thorpe on wire fraud and embezzlement charges, accusing him of taking the money between March 2013 and August 2017. 
Thorpe admitted that in attempts to cover up the fact that he wrote city checks to himself, he falsified accounting and bank records. 
In announcing the sentence, U.S. District Judge Staci M. Yandle noted the devastating impact Thorpe’s embezzlements have had on the city and its residents, telling Thorpe, “The seriousness of your crime cannot be overstated," and said his crimes were motivated by “absolute and unadulterated greed.” She said corruption like this destroys public confidence in government and the democratic process.

Published 07:21 PM, Tuesday Jun. 12, 2018
Updated 07:03 PM, Tuesday Jun. 12, 2018

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