Zeigler residents react to former treasurer's indictment - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Zeigler residents react to former treasurer's indictment

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ZEIGLER -- Zeigler residents continue to share their anger and frustration after learning the city's former treasurer Ryan Thorpe now faces federal charges for wire fraud and embezzlement. 

He is accused of stealing more than $300,000 from the city over the past four years. 

Harvey Ensinger was a Zeigler City Commissioner in the 80s and 90s.

He says he's in disbelief that more than $300,000 went missing from city accounts, unnoticed for years.

"Unbelievable that this could happen for this many years," he said. "I can't believe that nobody up there cared enough to catch it."

Zeigler Mayor Dennis Mitchell says city officials made the mistake of trusting Thorpe's reports and not examining bank statements themselves.

He says the city is taking steps to fix the situation, including making sure he approves all transactions.

"I wish it could've never happened but it did happen and the best we can do is try to clean it up and that's what we're doing," Mitchell said.

Documents show that Thorpe wrote checks to himself, and later altered the checks in city records to show approved vendors names.

But Ensinger says the lack oversight is inexcusable.

"Very unacceptable," he said. "but it's too late now."

Looking through copies of checks that Thorpe altered, Ensinger says the incident has hurt the citizen's trust in the city government.

"It really makes me sick to think that you have the government up there that's supposed to be taking care of their citizens and for some particular reason they're dropping the ball," Ensinger said.

But Ensinger say's though he's upset with city government, it's Thorpe, who deserves the blame.

Thorpe will appear in Federal court on October 19 in Benton for his arraignment.

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