- Associated Press - Thursday, October 19, 2017

BENTON, Ill. (AP) - The former treasurer of a small southern Illinois city has entered a not guilty plea to federal charges he stole thousands in government funds.

Ryan Thorpe is charged with wire fraud and embezzlement charges following a grand jury indictment earlier this month. He is accused of stealing more than $315,000 from the city of Ziegler (ZIG’-ler) between Jan. 1, 2013, and Aug. 31, 2017.

The alleged theft was uncovered by an audit that contends Thorpe falsified city accounting records to try to cover up theft.

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Judge Leona Daly on Thursday released Thorpe on a recognizance bond with stipulations that he remains employed and do not possess firearms or seek a passport. Thorpe’s trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 26.

Zeigler is about 90 miles (144.83 kilometers) southeast of St. Louis.

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