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Former Pettis County administrator pleads guilty to stealing more than $200,000

Tom Larson, acting United States attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced on Thursday that the former administrator of the Pettis County Ambulance District pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $227,000 from the district.

Michael Gardner, 62, pleaded guilty to bank fraud.

Garnder was hired as the administrator of the Pettis County Ambulance District in December 2012. He admitted that he forged board members’ signatures on 44 checks totaling $123,721. Gardner also admitted that he received $103,928 in unapproved payroll expenses from 2015 to 2017. The total amount of funds embezzled by Garner from the ambulance district was $227,649.

Gardner was arrested after two board members of the ambulance district presented suspicious checks and financial transactions made by Gardner. The board was also notified by Central Bank of Sedalia that there was suspicious activity being conducted on the district’s bank accounts. Members presented several ambulance checks to police investigators in which Gardner was the payee, and some contained forged board members’ signatures.

Gardner admitted that he was forging board members’ signatures and depositing them into some of his personal bank accounts for about a year.

An investigative firm identified 44 forged checks totaling $123,721.

A sentencing hearing for Gardner will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation.

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