Becker pleads guilty to stealing $1 million from Meriden Bank

A former Meriden banker has pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal $1 million from the bank he managed, hide the stolen funds, and flee from the United States aboard his own yacht, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom reported last Wednesday.

Scott Becker

Scott Becker

Scott D. Becker, 50, Meriden, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court Oct. 12 to one count of conspiracy to commit bank employee theft and one count of conspiracy to commit perjury, wire fraud and money laundering.

In his plea, he admitted the crimes began while he was president and CEO of Countryside Bank, formerly Meriden State Bank. Beginning in 1999, Becker used his knowledge of internal bank operations to steal more than $1 million for his personal use through a series of legal entities he created including Mt. Bethel Trucking LLC; Mt. Bethel Farms Inc.; Mt. Bethel Farms LP; Countryside Square Leasing Inc.; Countryside Crane Service LLC; Countryside Excavating LLC; Countryside Mortgage LLC; Becker and Associates, and Becker Farms Inc.

Also indicted in the conspiracy along with Becker in February of 2009 were Stephanie Smith, a vice president of the bank, and Michael Wurm, an employee of Becker’s.

Smith was scheduled for a plea hearing Oct. 20 and Wurm is set to go to trial Jan. 25.

In 2003, the Kansas Banking Commission determined the bank had a negative net worth. As a result of the examination, Becker was terminated.

When he became aware the Federal Bureau of Investigation was looking into the case, Becker developed a scheme to systematically liquidate, transfer and conceal his assets in an effort to prevent creditors and the government from taking them.

He sold property in Finney County, recorded a mortgage on real estate he owned falsely representing that his wife had loaned him more than $1 million against the property, purchased a corporation in Panama for the purpose of transferring assets to offshore accounts and bought a 42-foot yacht renamed “Pearls and Boots,” for the purpose of absconding from the United States.

Sentencing is set for Dec. 20.  Prosecutors are recommending a sentence of six years in federal prison.

Grissom commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Hathaway and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Kenney for their work on the case.

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Posted by on Oct 15 2010. Filed under County News, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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