The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

August 1, 2013

Woman admits embezzlements from two Joplin car dealerships

A woman accused of embezzling more than $100,000 from Frank Fletcher Ford and Credit Cars of Joplin has pleaded guilty to wire fraud in connection with the thefts.

Kathryn M. Stayton, 36, a former controller with both car dealerships, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a single count in U.S. District Court in Springfield. The Joplin woman’s plea agreement with the U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of Missouri would dismiss nine additional counts of wire fraud contained in an indictment handed up June 12 by a federal grand jury.

The 10 counts of the indictment were based solely on the theft of $88,230 from Frank Fletcher Ford between September 2009 and September 2011, when she was fired for unrelated reasons.

Stayton then worked for Credit Cars of Joplin for a couple of months before her embezzlements from both dealerships came to light, according to her plea agreement. The extent of her thefts from the second dealership came to $13,079, the plea agreement states.

The conviction carries up to 20 years in prison with three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date has yet to be set.

Stayton used her position as controller and manager of the accounting department at Frank Fletcher Ford to transfer funds from the dealership’s business accounts to her own personal bank accounts by forging the names of co-workers on documents and checks.

She told investigators that she began stealing from her employer because of personal debts that spiraled out of control. She wrote 70 unauthorized checks totaling $19,895.72 to herself and 61 checks totaling $26,769.24 to her mother. She primarily used automated teller machines to deposit the checks in her own bank account or in an account that she shared with her mother.

Stayton told investigators that her mother and husband knew nothing about her thefts because she managed her family’s finances and was able to remove money from the shared account before her mother would notice it.

Besides the unauthorized checks, she also stole 23 undeposited cash receipts of the Fletcher business totaling $36,365.10, according to the plea agreement.

She admitted to investigators that from time to time, those in sales at Fletcher Ford would give her cash payments on new vehicles, most of which she would pocket and then manipulate rebates to bring the customer’s account into balance. The forged expense checks were concealed by marking them as “we owe” or “rebates.”

The embezzled funds were used to make payments on a 2004 Ford F-150 pickup truck that she bought, and to pay bills, make purchases and gamble, she told investigators. She turned the truck and its keys over to a special agent with the Secret Service in February 2012 after her embezzlements became known and a seizure warrant was issued on the truck.

According to the plea agreement, her thefts from Credit Cars of Joplin took place between Oct. 27 and Dec. 2, 2011. A co-owner of the business learned Dec. 5 of that year of discrepancies found in a bank reconciliation for the month of November and called a meeting of managers, which ended with Stayton leaving the business and never returning.

Extent of fraud

KATHRYN STAYTON’S PLEA AGREEMENT states that the extent of her fraud at the two Joplin car dealerships that employed her entailed 131 transactions amounting to wire fraud, and 44 transactions involving theft and the forging of documents.

Text Only
Local News
  • Pension funding improving, actuary reports

    An extra $1 million contribution by the city of Joplin last year to the Police and Firemen’s Pension Fund boosted the funding ratio of the plan by 2 percent, the plan’s actuary told the board Thursday morning.

    April 17, 2014

  • Special counsel to be appointed in ethics complaint against Neosho council members

    The Neosho Ethics Board on Wednesday voted to ask the City Council to appoint a special counsel to provide legal advice to the board’s remaining two members as they investigate a complaint against two members of the council.

    April 17, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Will new Earth-like planet have better cable offerings?

    When I read that astronomers have discovered the most Earth-like planet yet, I had a couple of deep scientific questions. First: What’s the Wi-Fi like? And: Are their TV channels better than ours? Hey, I didn’t get an “Incomplete” in college astronomy for nothing.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Christian ministry plans Missouri camp expansion

    A nondenominational Christian ministry is planning a $21.5 million expansion on land it owns near Table Rock Lake in southwest Missouri, with a goal of offering gatherings beyond the traditional summer camps.

    April 17, 2014

  • 041714 School safe rooms4_72.jpg Joplin school district readies community safe rooms for storm season

    Thousands of Joplin residents will soon be able to stay safe during storms in some of the region’s newest shelters. Community safe rooms at Cecil Floyd, Stapleton, McKinley and Eastmorland elementary schools, which double as gymnasiums, and Junge Field, which will double as a field house, are expected to be open within the next few weeks, according to Mike Johnson, the school district’s director of construction.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • 041714 Treble Makers.jpg Carl Junction ‘Treble Makers’ to sing at Springfield Cardinals’ stadium

    Next month, 75 Carl Junction sixth-grade students will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Hammons Field before a Springfield Cardinals game. And with more than 600 parents, family members and other residents planning to attend, the May 3 event has been dubbed “Carl Junction Day.”

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Public hearing set on posed TIF district

    Financial details of a proposed new tax increment financing district for the Silver Creek Galleria area will be discussed in detail at an April 28 public hearing, members of the city’s TIF Commission were told Thursday. Chris Williams, a TIF attorney representing the city of Joplin, told the panel the Thursday meeting was intended to walk commissioners through the public hearing steps.

    April 17, 2014

  • Volunteer projects spark two bills in Jefferson City

     moving through the Missouri House and Senate were inspired by a volunteer project in Carl Junction last year that stalled over a question of whether those volunteers had to be paid prevailing wage under Missouri law. “This bill is very simple. All it says is if someone is a volunteer, they won’t be forced to be paid prevailing wage,” state Rep. Charlie Davis, R-Webb City, told lawmakers during a hearing on his bill last week.

    April 17, 2014

  • Chairman of Neosho Ethics Board resigns

    The chairman of the Neosho Ethics Board unexpectedly resigned on Thursday as the board investigates a complaint against Neosho City Council members David Ruth and Steve Hart.

    April 17, 2014

  • CWEP receives top honor from national power group

    The Carthage Water and Electric Plant has received the top award for reliable electrical service from the American Public Power Association.

    April 17, 2014

Must Read


Would you use a community safe room when the area is under a tornado warning?

     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter