A former City of Belvue treasurer arrested in June 2021 has been sent to jail for taking thousands of dollars in public funds over several years.
Former city clerk and treasurer Kim Fitzgerald, was sentenced to 60 days in jail and given seven months of probation Thursday by Pottawatomie County Judge Jeff Elder. Fitzgerald was convicted for embezzling more than $88,000 from the city’s funds going back as far as 2010, according to a statement from County Attorney Sherri Schuck in court Thursday.
Judge Elder said in court Thursday he was imposing the 60 day jail sentence to send a message that if you steal from a city municipality you won’t just get a slap on the wrist. A criminal complaint filed last June alleged the amount of public funds unlawfully converted actually may have topped $100,000.
Fitzgerald reportedly transferred funds to pay personal utility and medical bills, funneled some funds to her family’s trucking business to the tune of more than $60,000. Because some of the statutes of limitations have begun to run out, the city most likely won’t be able to recoup all the funds stolen. Fitzgerald, who is currently employed by the Wamego School District as a food service worker, agreed to pay a $600 payment upon her arrest Thursday, as well as $100 a month going forward. Restitution will also be collected from 50 percent of her annual tax refunds.
Former Mayor Norman Stutzman and current city council member Kevin Fifer gave victim impact statements prior to her sentencing, noting her actions caused the city to be unable to fund certain street improvements and caused water bills for residents to increase.
It’s not clear when Fitzgerald’s employment ended with the City of Belvue. KMAN has reached out via email to the City Clerk’s office for more information about the crimes.