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January 4, 11

NEWS / Jefferson County Man Pleads Guilty to Role in Embezzlement by Bank President

KANSAS CITY, KNóA Jefferson County man has pleaded guilty to helping the former president of a bank in Meriden, Kan., steal from the bank, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.

Michael R. Wurm, 49, Meriden, Kan., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., today to one count of aiding and abetting theft by a bank officer. In his plea, Wurm admitted that in 2001 and 2002 he helped former Meriden State Bank President Scott Becker embezzle bank funds. During that time, Becker convinced the bankís board to construct a branch on Fairlawn Street in Topeka, Kan. Becker and Wurm concealed from the board the fact that Becker would be serving as the undisclosed general contractor on the project. In ord! er to receive approval for the project, Becker falsely represented to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation that no insider would be involved or benefit from construction of the branch.

To conceal Beckerís involvement, Becker had Wurm inflate billings from Louis Droge Construction to cover draw requests to the bank for construction of the branch. Becker approved draw requests totaling about $385,355. As a result, Wurm collected approximately $115,206 more from the bank than the amount Wurm paid to Droge Construction. That money went to Scott Becker.

Wurm is set for sentencing March 21, 2011, He faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison and a fine up to $1 million.

Co-defendant Scott Becker pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison. Co-defendant Stephanie R. Smith pleaded guilty and is set for sentencing Jan. 24, 2011.

Grissom commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Kenney and Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Hathaway for their work on the case.


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