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
  • State audit of Joplin School District begins

    Staff members from the state auditor’s office have begun their audit of the Joplin School District, Superintendent C.J. Huff said Monday. They are expected to be in the district four days per week for the next five to six months, or perhaps longer, until the audit is complete, Huff said.

    July 21, 2014

  • Burglary conviction draws shock prison time

    A Joplin man who received 120 days of shock incarceration time Friday in a drunken-driving case in Jasper County Circuit Court was assessed a concurrent sentence Monday in a burglary case.

    July 21, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Family gatherings mirror circle of life

    The annual family gathering is getting bigger. There tends to be an ebb and a flow to most family gatherings. When you’re a kid, and especially if you’re a kid from a large Catholic family, the gatherings seem to be huge.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Carthage man pleads guilty in sexual abuse case

    A Carthage man pleaded guilty Monday to sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl in a plea agreement that would cap the length of his prison term at no more than 15 years.

    July 21, 2014

  • Main Street TIF district study to begin

    A measure that allows the city to charge its administrative costs for studying a proposal to create a tax increment financing district on South Main Street was approved Monday by the Joplin City Council.

    July 21, 2014

  • 071714 Jasper Cty Dispatch1_72.jpg Area communities, Jasper County work to improve communications

    The first law enforcement officer to respond to a fatal shooting last November at Northpark Mall was from the Duquesne Police Department — not Joplin. Joplin police Chief Jason Burns said he wasn’t bothered by that. “We dispatch for them, and they had an officer close who could get there faster,” he said. “And getting help to people as quickly as possible is more important than jurisdictions.”

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • New and old TIF districts on agenda for Joplin council

    Another tax increment financing district is being proposed for Joplin, this one along South Main Street. The area is close to the new Mercy Hospital Joplin that is set to open next year. RKS Development is seeking authorization from the Joplin City Council when it meets Monday night to prepare a request to establish a TIF district.

    July 20, 2014

  • AndraBryanStefanoni.jpg Andra Bryan Stefanoni: Family grows by one — a black Lab named Raven

    If you haven’t experienced the feeling of a tiny puppy in your lap at the end of a perfect July Saturday — hammock time, s’mores, leisurely walks, you know the kind — I highly recommend it. It is pure joy.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 042017 Jo Ellis_c.jpg Jo Ellis: Car show, sidewalk sale and more scheduled for weekend in Carthage

    All roads leading to Carthage should be packed this weekend as numerous events geared toward entertainment, cultural pursuits and bargain hunting are expected to pull in large crowds.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • SusanRedden.jpg Susan Redden: Hobby Lobby lawyer to speak at watermelon feed

    Josh Hawley, who helped represent Hobby Lobby in arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on contraception requirements in the Affordable Care Act, has been added to the list of speakers for Thursday’s annual watermelon feed sponsored by Newton County Republicans.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read


Do you think Missouri should pass legislation that would allow a prescription drug database to be kept?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter