Missouri man admits to stealing $854K, using funds to remodel backyard

ST. LOUIS — A Missouri man admitted to stealing more than $854,000 from his employer at a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in St. Louis, prosecutors said.

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According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri, Ryan S. Kent, 44, of Festus, used the stolen money to remodel his backyard. He also used the cash to pay personal bills, buy a truck and SUV, and gamble in Las Vegas.

The total amount of the money taken was $854,544, prosecutors said.

Kent pleaded guilty to a felony wire fraud charge, according to the release. He faces up to 20 years in prison and must pay back his employer.

Kent admitted that since 2017, he falsely sought and received reimbursement for phony purchases and travel, KTVI reported.

According to prosecutors, Kent was in charge of repairing the company’s equipment. The company, which has its headquarters in Georgia, had a facility in St. Louis where Kent worked, according to The Kansas City Star.

According to Kent’s plea, between July 2017 to October 2021 he bought supplies and equipment with his personal debit or credit card and then doctored the receipts to inflate the amount of purchase before submitting them to his company.

Prosecutors also said that Kent submitted fake invoices and requested reimbursement. Kent allegedly bought products from a Home Depot store and would seek reimbursement -- but he would then return what he bought without telling his employer, the Star reported.

Kent used the money to remodel his backyard, pay bills, and buy a 2021 Chevrolet Silverado and a 2021 Cadillac Escalade. He also spent some of the money to travel to Las Vegas to gamble, according to Kent’s plea.

Kent will be sentenced on Nov. 9.