The treasurer for a small city in Southern Illinois stole more than $300,000 from a city account and used the money to buy ATVs, motorcycles, guns and a diamond ring, according to federal prosecutors.
Ryan A. Thorpe, 44, was charged Tuesday in a federal indictment with three counts of wire fraud and two counts of embezzlement from a local government.
The charges allege that Thorpe, who was the city treasurer in Zeigler, embezzled more than $300,000 by writing checks to himself, drawing money from the city’s general account, according to a press release from Donald S. Boyce, federal prosecutor for the Southern District of Illinois. This went on for more than four years, charges say.
Each month, Thorpe allegedly hid the thefts from the city by altering copies of the checks sent to the city from the city’s bank, according to a news release. He would white-out his name in the payee section of the check and cover it with the names of vendors and suppliers the city worked with, charges say. Each month, he allegedly submitted false monthly reports to the city council.
Each wire fraud charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Each embezzlement count has a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The indictment also demands forfeiture of items Thorpe allegedly bought with the stolen money: two ATVs, two motorcycles, a portable building, lots in Zeigler, a utility trailer, multiple firearms and a diamond ring.