The woman who admitted to stealing approximately $286,000 from the Plattsburg Special Road District has been sentenced in U.S. District Court.
According to a press release from the Missouri State Auditor’s Office, Ava Langner, 60, of Lathrop, will serve five years probation and was ordered to pay restitution of $95,423 to the Plattsburg Special Road District and $5,000 to the Missouri Public Entity Risk Management Fund. She was sentenced Monday by Western District Senior Judge Gary Fenner.
Langner pled guilty to theft of funds from an agency receiving federal funds in July 2020 and, according to the plea agreement, faced a maximum penalty of no more than 10 years imprisonment and $250,000 in fines.
Langner served as the secretary and treasurer of the Plattsburg Special Road District for seven years before a state audit in 2019 – sparked by a whistle-blower complaint to the auditor’s office – found that she had taken approximately $286,000 in district funds through improper payments to herself and her company, and payments on her credit cards. Those funds included $30,000 that may have been used for the operation of personal businesses, and $14,000 spent on travel and entertainment.
Langner was indicted in November 2019 by a federal grand jury. Local courts also awarded a default judgment against Langner to the Plattsburg Special Road District totaling $286,615 in July 2020.
“I’m proud of the auditors and investigators in my office who uncovered this crime, which was a brazen betrayal of public trust,” said Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway. “Our work continued as we assisted federal law enforcement, as the U.S. Attorney pursued justice for the taxpayers who were defrauded. Our audits have resulted in 77 criminal charges against public officials who abused their positions. (Monday’s) sentencing is an example of how audits help bring accountability.”
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