Monday, October 20, 2014

Municipal Clerk In Kansas Sentenced In $190K Embezzlement Case

From the Topeka Capital Journal on 10/18/2014:

A federal judge on Friday sentenced the former Auburn clerk to 12 months and one day of imprisonment after pleading guilty to felony embezzlement.

Alice Riley, 61, was ordered to pay to the city of Auburn full restitution in the amount of $189,594.05 and to serve one year of supervised release after her imprisonment. Chief Judge J. Thomas Marten also issued a special condition to her release: a prohibition on gambling.

As many as five family members and friends came out for Riley’s hearing, including her sister, Grace Bowser, who serves as city clerk of Mayetta in Jackson County. Those there for support could be seen wiping away tears during the proceeding.

“I know that I've done something awful,” Riley said when the judge asked for a comment. The rest of her statement was inaudible from the back of the courtroom.
Marten ordered Riley to self-surrender after Jan. 1, 2015 — so she can have some time to pull things together and get through the holiday season, the judge said.

While incarcerated, Riley will have to make monthly restitution payments to Auburn equal to no less than 10 percent of the funds in her inmate account. When she gets out, Marten said, 5 percent of her monthly income will go toward paying back the city of Auburn.

Riley intends to pay back all the money, said her defense attorney, J. Richard Lake. In advocating for a reduced prison sentence, he said Riley “would like to begin that as soon as possible.”

“In your case, Miss Riley, you are going to have to do some time,” Marten said. “Twelve months and a day might seem like a slap on the hands to some, but it's not.”

The extra day allows Riley to be let out early on good behavior, which, Marten said, likely would reduce her sentence to 10 months.

Riley in July pleaded guilty to a federal embezzlement charge. She resigned Feb. 13 amid questions from the Auburn City Council and multiple-year audits into the city’s finances. She served in the appointed position for 31 years.

The federal government alleges Riley, between 2009 and 2014, embezzled at least $186,000 from Auburn, where she managed payroll and other accounts as the city clerk. Prosecutors say Riley issued duplicate payroll checks to herself, as well as other unauthorized checks she deposited into her personal accounts. She attempted to cover up the embezzlement by creating false entries in the city’s books and bank statements.

Auburn Councilwoman Micki Bicknell was present for Friday’s sentencing, but declined to comment given the ongoing civil suit the city is pursuing against Riley in Shawnee County District Court. The case still is in the pretrial phase, said Auburn’s attorney Todd Luckman. However, with the sentencing and guilty plea in the federal case, he doesn’t imagine it will be fought to the end.
Riley's guilty plea can be used against her in the civil suit, and prevents her from filing an appeal in federal court.

The city’s civil case claims Riley embezzled more than $196,000, so it will be required to prove that figure, Luckman said.


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