JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. – A former alderman in a small Jefferson County city entered a guilty plea to wire fraud on Monday. Gary Keith Atchley admitted spending the city’s money as if it was his own.
“He essentially embezzled approximately $180,000 from the city that he was representing by writing checks to cash, writing checks to himself, essentially just stealing city checks,” said Assistant US Attorney Tom Albus.
Current city officials hope the investigation is not over. They believe there was even more wrong-doing during the previous administration. Some of the current elected officials say there just wasn’t much oversight and citizen interest in city business in the past. Current leaders made some disturbing discoveries when they took office.
“When I started we had $150 in our accounts,” said Olympian Village Clerk Carolyn McDowell.
“There were umpteen boxes of mail that wasn’t opened yet,” said Olympian Village Alderman Anthony Aubuchon. “When we went through it we saw all this money going different places.”
McDowell said there were receipts for purchases at places such as Cabela’s and Bass Pro. Officials notified Jefferson County authorities and the FBI became involved.
“We believe that public service is a public trust and that’s something the FBI has historically looked into, public corruption in any level, be it local, or state, or federal,” said Albus. “I applaud them and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department for putting this case together.”