Feb 13, 2020 11:29 AM

6 Kansas City employees plead guilty to overtime fraud

Posted Feb 13, 2020 11:29 AM

KANSAS CITY (AP) — Six employees of the Kansas City public works department admitted they conspired over three years to collect about $58,000 in overtime pay they had not earned.

When the city receives calls about downed or damaged signs that are considered essential — such as stop signs or yield signs — public works employees are called to work overtime to repair or replace the signs.

Prosecutors said the defendants admitted they or their friends and relatives reported damaged signs on evenings or weekends in order to be called out to fix them. They then submitted time sheets and work orders indicating they fixed the signs, when they had not done so. Signs that were actually damaged often were not fixed until the next working day.

The conspiracy lasted from January 2013 to November 2016. An internal investigation found about 75 percent of callouts for damaged signs between Aug. 23, 2016 and Nov. 13, 2016, were fraudulent. City officials then alerted the FBI.

Prentis M. Rayford, 37, Eric McKamey, 47, and Edward Lee Ellingburg, 48, all of Kansas City, pleaded guilty Wednesday to participating in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Co-defendants Paul Myers, 62, Kenneth Gethers, 34, and Julio Prospero, 49, all of Kansas City, have also pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy.

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Feb 13, 2020 11:29 AM
Ex-Kan. prison lab instructor wants sex crime conviction thrown out
Tomas Co photo Texas County

TOPEKA, KAN. (AP) — A former prison dental instructor who was found guilty earlier this month of one count of unlawful sexual relations with an inmate is asking a judge to throw out the conviction.

Tomas Co was convicted on one charge and found not guilty of five other charges alleging he abused female inmates working in the dental lab at the Topeka Correctional Facility.

The conviction was for a woman who said Co touched the inside of her knee and thigh.

In a motion filed Friday, Co's attorney, Chris Joseph, argued that type of touching doesn’t constitute “lewd” touching under state law. The motion also asks Shawnee County District Court Judge Cheryl Rios to acquit Co based on insufficient evidence, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

Joseph said he also plans to seek probation for Co, rather than the 31 to 136 months of prison time he is facing.

District Attorney Mike Kagay said his office would file arguments in response to the defense motion.

Inmates in the dental lab complained for five years about alleged sexual harassment and unwanted touching by Co, who was dismissed in December 2018.