A former superintendent of a Missouri school district has pleaded guilty in federal court to embezzling more than $844,000 from the district.
Ronnie Gene DeShon, 50, of Gallatin, Mo., entered the plea on March 8, admitting that he took the money from the Pattonsburg R-II district between July 1, 2000, and the time of his resignation on Oct. 13 of last year.
U.S. Attorney Todd Graves, based in Kansas City, Mo., said in a statement that the 200-student district had just $14 in its bank account when Mr. DeShon resigned.
Mr. DeShon had arranged to divert money from the Missouri Securities Investment Program, which transfers state and federal money into districts’ accounts, into a second account that he claimed was for the district, the prosecutor said. Instead, it was his own credit union account.
To cover his activities, Mr. DeShon generated false accounting entries to show that the district’s original account was earning interest, Mr. Graves’ statement said.
In court, Mr. DeShon said that he had been “addicted to gambling” before he was hired as superintendent and said most of the embezzled money was lost to gaming, prosecutors said.
He faces up to 10 years in federal prison, plus a fine of up to $250,000 and an order of restitution. No sentencing date has been set.