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Archive for Monday, January 3, 2011

Meriden man pleads guilty to helping Jefferson County banker embezzle funds

January 3, 2011

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A Meriden man admitted Monday that he helped a former Jefferson County bank president embezzle funds.

During a hearing in federal court in Kansas City, Kan., Michael R. Wurm, 48, entered a guilty plea Monday morning to one count of aiding and abetting a theft by a bank officer.

He admitted that in 2001 and 2002 he helped Scott Becker, former president of Meriden State Bank. According to U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom’s office, Becker convinced the bank’s board to construct a branch in Topeka, but he and Wurm concealed the fact Becker would serve as the general contractor.

Prosecutors said Becker falsely represented this to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and that Wurm inflated bills from Louis Droge Construction to cover draw requests to the bank on the branch. Becker approved a total of $383,355 in draw requests, and as a result, Wurm collected about $115,000 more from the bank than the amount he paid to Louis Droge Construction. That money went to Becker, according to Grissom’s office.

Wurm’s sentencing is scheduled for March 21. He faces a maximum 30 years in prison and up to a $1 million fine.

Becker has been sentenced to five years in prison, and co-defendant Stephanie R. Smith is scheduled to be sentenced for her involvement Jan. 24.

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