Metro-East News

Former water district manager found guilty of wire fraud

The Pontoon Beach Public Water District office.
The Pontoon Beach Public Water District office.

The former Pontoon Beach Public Water district manager has been found guilty and sentenced to three years of probation in federal court for wire fraud.

Brian Buske, 44, of Alton, was charged in January 2016 with stealing public funds and using a water district credit card for personal use. The charge occurred after the FBI launched an investigation seven months prior into Buske’s alleged misconduct during his time as an employee at the water district.

Buske pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. His probation requires that he not take a job involving fiduciary responsibility, which is a relationship between two parties that requires one to act in the interest of the other, without permission from the court. Buske will also be equipped with a location monitoring device for four months.

Buske was also ordered to pay restitution of $4,786.13 for embezzled funds.

Authorities believe Buske took $5,323 from a safe last spring at the water district office and used the district’s Bank of America credit card for personal expenses, including electric, insurance and cell phone bills.

An investigation by the Belleville News-Democrat found that among other charges, Buske had spent $500 at Kay Jewelers and $509 at on the district’s credit card.

Buske served as the water district manager from 2007 until June 2016 when the board voted unanimously to end his employment for “misappropriation of funds,” according to court records.

Kaley Johnson: 618-239-2526, @KaleyJohnson6