- Associated Press - Friday, May 1, 2015

BENTON, Ill. (AP) - The former finance manager of a two-county electric cooperative who was also a southern Illinois church treasurer has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $350,000 from the two groups.

Fifty-year-old Bruce L. Johnson of Wayne City pleaded guilty Friday to mail fraud in U.S. District Court in Benton.

He was charged with defrauding both the Wayne-White Counties Electric Cooperative, where he was manager of finance and office services, and the Wayne City First Christian Church. The thefts occurred over a six-year period beginning in 2007.

Federal prosecutors said Johnson used unauthorized and forged checks from electric co-op and church bank accounts to pay personal debts. He faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine when he’s sentenced in August.

Johnson remains free on bond.

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