Federal Indictment on Kansas Bank Embezzlement

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TOPEKA, Kan. - Federal prosecutors say two former officers of a northeast Kansas bank and another man were indicted on charges of embezzling more than $2 million from the bank.

The U.S. attorney's office said the indictment was unsealed Wednesday.

Indicted were Scott D. Becker, former president of Countryside Bank in Meriden; a former vice president, Stephanie R. Smith; and Michael R. Wurm. All three are from Meriden.

The government said Wurm played various roles, including serving as contractor on construction projects for the bank.

The indictment said that, starting in 1999, Becker stole more the $2 million. It said some of the money went to fund Becker's various private business operations. The indictment lists some of those businesses as Mt. Bethel Trucking, LLC; Mt. Bethel Farms, Inc.; Mt.Bethel Farms, LP; Countryside Square Leasing, Inc.; Countryside Crane Service, LLC; Countryside Excavating, LLC; Countryside Mortgage, LLC; Becker and Associates; and Becker Farms, Inc.

According to the indictment, Smith was vice president of the bank, a member of the loan committee and board of directors, and secretary of the bank’s holding company. Prosecutors say she was part owner of Countryside Leasing, Countryside Mortgage and Mt. Bethel Trucking.

Prosecutors say Wurm served as contractor on construction projects for the branch bank and put his name on loans that actually were intended for Becker’s benefit.

Becker and Smith were fired after the bank was examined in 2003 by the Kansas Banking Commission.

In a separate forfeiture count, the government is seeking a money judgment of more than $2 million, representing the proceeds of the crime.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum penalty of 30 years and a fine up to $1 million on each count.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.