Kirksville man pleads guilty to stealing from fraternity
JEFFERSON CITY - A Kirksville man pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $380,000 from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity in Columbia.
Burt Louis Beard, 62, wrote over 150 checks to himself while holding the office of volunteer treasurer from 2000 to 2014. During that time, Beard was in charge of maintaining the house, collecting rent, and paying vendors.
Beard claimed the checks were reimbursement for personal loans he made to the fraternity. Beard supplied copies of checks to fictitious vendors, or invoices that vendors later said weren't theirs, to explain his reimbursements.
In 2014, Sigma Alpha Epsilon elected new officers, including Beard's role. During the transition, a number of inconsistencies led the fraternity to conduct and independent investigation, which found that the fraternity lost $380,502 from March 2008 to September 2014.
Beard has not been sentenced. The maximum sentence is 30 years in federal prison without parole.