Former Junction City Commissioner Charged in Federal Indictment

By: AP, Rae Chelle Davis Email
By: AP, Rae Chelle Davis Email

Topeka, Kan. (WIBW) - Charges against a former Junction City Commissioner have been revealed in an indictment that was unsealed Tuesday.

Former Commissioner Michael R. "Mick" Wunder is charged with bank fraud, perjury, conspiracy, and unlawful monetary transactions according to U.S. Attorney Lanny Welch.

13 News is in Junction City and we will have reaction tonight on 13 News at 5 and 6. You can read the details of the indictment below.
________________
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Federal prosecutors have indicted a former
Junction City commissioner on 11 counts, including bank fraud and
conspiracy for allegedly taking $19,000 in bribes.

The charges against Michael R. ``Mick'' Wunder, 52, come a day
after David Ray Freeman, 45, of Lawrence, pleaded guilty to charges
that he gave money to a Junction City commissioner to influence the
city's decision to award development contracts.

Freeman admitted that he gave money to a commissioner with the
code name ``firefighter'' in hopes of winning $12 million in
contracts to develop housing in Junction City for soldiers coming
to Fort Riley.

The indictments against Wunder allege that he received $19,000,
as well as lavish trips to Kansas City, Mo., from Freeman.
_____________________

CHARGES AGAINST FORMER JUNCTION CITY COMMISSIONER

REVEALED IN INDICTMENT UNSEALED TODAY

TOPEKA, KAN. – Former Junction City Commissioner Michael R. “Mick” Wunder, 52, Junction City, Kan., is charged in a federal indictment unsealed today with bank fraud, perjury, conspiracy, and unlawful monetary transactions, U.S. Attorney Lanny Welch said today.

The indictment, which has been under seal by court order since it was filed June 9, charges the former commissioner with 11 counts including:

– One count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, violate the Hobbs Act and structure financial transactions to evade federal currency reporting requirements.

– One count of structuring financial transactions to evade the Bank Secrecy Act requiring reports on transactions of $10,000 or more.

– Five counts of unlawfully using his position as a Junction City Commissioner to obtain money and other properties.

– Three counts of bank fraud.

– One count of perjury.

According to the indictment, in 2004 Wunder became friends with co-defendant David Ray Freeman, a developer from Lawrence, Kan., who was considering investing in land for constructing new houses in Junction City. At the time, there were reports that soldiers returning to Junction City and Fort Riley would create a booming market for new housing that had the potential to double the city’s population. As a result, the city of Junction City began annexation of 1,400 acres to be developed for housing.

On May 1, 2006, Freeman issued a $5,000 check payable to Wunder’s wife.

On May 5, 2006, Freeman and his partners formed Big D Development, LLC, and

Big D Construction, LLC. Freeman, who held a 50 percent interest in the

businesses, bragged to his partners that he had a Junction City Commissioner in his pocket and he could get anything approved by the commission.

In June 2006, Wunder traveled to Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Mo., where he received gratuities from Freeman including lodging at the Sheraton on the Plaza, dinner and drinks at an Italian Restaurant, and limo service. In July 2006, Freeman issued a $5,000 check to Wunder.

On July 27, 2006, Big D received a development contract from the city of Junction City for Sutter Woods Subdivision. On Aug. 30, 2006, Bid D received a development contract from the city for Sutter Highlands Subdivision. Together, the two contracts were worth more than $12 million to Big D.

Sometime after receiving the development contracts, Big D set aside a
choice lot in the Sutter Woods development for a residential home for
“firefighter,” which was a code name for Wunder. In March 2007, Freeman had an assistant draw and cash a check for $9,000 and deliver the cash to Wunder at a rest stop between Topeka and Junction City.

On April 16, 2009, Wunder was under oath before a grand jury when he was asked why Freeman paid him $9,000. Wunder falsely stated that Freeman gave him the money in return for three baseballs, a bat and a picture.

Upon conviction, the alleged crimes carry the following penalties

– Conspiracy: A maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison and a fine up to $1 million.

– Structuring financial transactions to evade reporting requirements: A
maximum penalty of 10 years and a fine up to $250,0000.

– Unlawfully using his official position to obtain money and other
properties: A maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine up to $250,000 on each count.

– Bank fraud: A maximum penalty of 30 years and a fine up to $1 million on each count.

– Perjury: A maximum penalty of 5 years and a fine up to $250,000.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service/Criminal Investigation Division worked on the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Hathaway and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Kenney are prosecuting.


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