- 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.

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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