Treasurer admits to embezzling over $1 million from small towns’ funds

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WELLINGTON, Mo. -- Your tax dollars may have been diverted into the pockets of an ambitious embezzler. The total sum: $1.5 million stolen by a trusted public official. For 15 years Leland Kolkmeyer had the trust of the taxpayers in Wellington and Napoleon Mo. He was the treasurer of both the fire protection and road districts in the towns just east of Kansas City.

On Wednesday in federal court, he admitted that over the past 15 years he wrote personal checks to himself from taxpayer funds. It was a brazen crime

“We figured it up. It’s about $800 from every man woman and child,” said Wellington-Napoleon Fire Chief Wesley Young.

Starting in 1998, Kolkmeyer wrote check after check, some worth $800 others worth $1,600. Some of the money was transferred to a Citi or Capital One credit card. What stayed the same, according to court documents, was the recipient, Kolkmeyer. He also racked up thousands of dollars worth of charges on a Sam’s Club card and a Barclay’s credit card.

All of the funds came from the same two pools, the Wellington-Napoleon Fire Protection and Special Road Districts.

“He was pretty arrogant,” said Chief Young.

Chief Young said Kolkmeyer took directly from the taxpayers. According to court documents, the total amount embezzled from the fire department alone was more than $600,000 over 15 years.

“He took the trust away from the community,” Road Commissioner Tom Legate.

He also said Kolkmeyer stole about  50% of the operating budget each year and in turn put the safety of each and every volunteer firefighter on the force, on the line.

“He put us in danger, over time we went out the door and didn't have the maintenance on the trucks that we should have had,” Chief Young said.

Legate stated the same can be said for the road department

“It encompassed the tax payers safety, going down the roads.  The ambulance, the fire department. I mean it was just basically all- in-one where it kept us from doing  the proper job that needed to be done,” Legate said.

From the Special Road  District, Kolkmeyer embezzled $900,000.

“I really ask myself how a person can live with themselves doing something like this,” Legate said.

Now both departments are more watchful to ensure that it can never happen again. Kolkmeyer pleaded guilty in federal court on Wednesday and he could face up to 40 years in prison. He has also been ordered to pay back the stolen monies that had made him a millionaire.

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  • Madamspinner

    I live nearby. Both Napoleon and Wellington are quite literally a “wide place in the road” . HOW in the world did this SOB get away with stealing that much money from such tiny towns ??…before getting caught ? Wellington population is 783 and Napoleons’ pop. is 202. HOW ?? Was NO ONE paying attention ???? I think he should get the maximum punishment the judge can dish out ! Besides being run out of town on a rail !

  • Fellow Community Member

    Dont judge a book by its cover. This is a small town community that I am very proud to be a part of. Who knows what he was thinking but he admitted his guilt and I know is living with the consequences along with his children, grand-children, wife and family.

    • not a happy citizen

      My grandma had copd and if the ambulance would of gotten to her in a reasonable amount of time she not only wouldn’t of had to suffer as long but there’s a possibility they could of saved her. The reason the ambulance took so long is because they’re all volunteer because wellington didn’t have the funds to hire someone. Well if it weren’t for Leland stealing 50% of the funds, wellington would of had the funds to hire someone. Results: someone dies and he makes money off their funeral costs… Greedy, Selfish, Heartless POS!