Former superintendent and board president in St. Joseph, Mo., pleads guilty to fraud

Former superintendent and board president in St. Joseph, Mo., pleads guilty to fraud

Dan Colgan admits to overstating his salary to boost his pension payments by more than $600,000.

Dan Colgan, former superintendent and board president in the St. Joseph (Mo.) school district, has pleaded guilty to fraud charges in connection with a scheme to illegally boost his pension payments by more than $600,000.

Federal prosecutors say Colgan entered into a plea agreement in federal court that calls for him to serve one year and one day in prison and pay $662,660 in restitution.

Colgan, 70, was the district's superintendent from 1992 to 2005, and served on the school board from 2010 until he resigned in 2015. He was board president from 2012 to 2014.

Colgan admitted that he caused others to falsely report his salary to the Public School and Education Employee Retirement Systems of Missouri in order to increase his retirement benefits. The salary figures he caused the district to submit to the retirement system on his behalf included fringe benefits and other payments—car allowances, insurance premiums, unused vacation and other items—that were not eligible to be counted as salary under state statutes.

The fraud scheme began during the 1997-98 school year and lasted for eight years, until Colgan’s retirement, prosecutors say.

In the three years before Colgan retired as superintendent, St. Joseph falsely reported that his salary totaled $586,030. In reality, his salary amounted to $343,286, and the school district made excess payments in the amount of $14,652 to the retirement system from 2003 through 2005. Colgan was paid excess benefits that totaled $677,313 over 10 years.

Colgan resigned from the school board last year after a report by the Missouri State Auditor detailed problems with district oversight, purchasing and spending practices.

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