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Archive for Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Former Junction City commissioner pleads not guilty in bank fraud case

July 21, 2009

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A former Junction City commissioner formally pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges that he accepted payments and gifts from a Lawrence developer who had been seeking the city’s permission to develop hundreds of homes to accommodate troops and families from nearby Fort Riley.

Michael “Mick” Wunder entered his mandatory plea Tuesday afternoon before Magistrate Judge Gary Sebelius in U.S. District Court in Topeka.

Wunder is charged with bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and structuring financial transactions to evade regulatory requirements. He also faces five counts of unlawfully using his position as a commissioner to obtain money and other properties, and one count of perjury for allegedly lying about his role in the scheme while questioned by a grand jury.

If convicted of bank fraud or conspiracy, Wunder would face up to 30 years in prison. Convictions on the other charges also carry potential prison sentences.

Wunder was indicted by a grand jury June 10, a document that was unsealed July 1 — a day after Lawrence developer David Ray Freeman pleaded guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Freeman’s plea agreement includes a pledge that he would provide information and testify against others who might have been involved in the scheme.

As part of his guilty plea, Freeman admitted to directing three payments totaling $19,000 to Wunder and treating him to dinner, drinks, limo service and a hotel stay on the Plaza in Kansas City, Mo. Freeman had bragged to associates that he had Wunder “in his pocket.”

Freeman also acknowledged that his company, Big D Development and Construction, had secured permission from Junction City to develop subdivisions in deals that were worth a combined $12 million for Big D.

Michael Francis, Wunder’s attorney, declined to comment on the charges or the circumstances surrounding them.

Arguments on motions are set for Aug. 28, at which time a trial date would be set.

Comments

Scott Overfield 4 years, 9 months ago

He kept his financial payments under 10K to hide the transactions since banks have to report any transactions over this amount. That is where the bank fraud charges come from. The 2 banks involved I believe is University National Bank and Lawrence Bank.

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Godot 4 years, 9 months ago

Anyone know which bank or banks were defrauded?

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OutlawJHawk 4 years, 9 months ago

American capitalism stymied by selective liberal prosecution. Freeman did what every lobbyist does in this country...build "rapport" with elected officials for favorable access on issues concerning his interests. Travel junkets, dinners, "consulting" jobs and pay-outs, and political "donations" are part of the system, right or wrong. What is wrong is the typical selective nature of indictments which are more often driven by the PR opportunity for the prosecuter...either go after everyone that does this or no one.

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sherbert 4 years, 9 months ago

It says they received permission to build the subdivisions, but it doesn't say if this permission was due to the fact that he gave the guy money. Was it something that otherwise wouldn't have been approved, or would have been hard to get through??

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Boston_Corbett 4 years, 9 months ago

Since the guy "giving" the bribes has already pleaded guilty, it will be one of those "he-said" - "he-said" kinda things.

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