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December 16, 2011


Bill Smith

Kansas City – In November 1984, a grand jury indicted Michael (Mike) Begnaud on nine counts of wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1343 (1982).
The subsequent trial established that Begnaud approached the Oak Park Credit Union in late 1983 or early 1984, offering to raise money for the small minority-owned credit union. Begnaud was elected to the board of directors of the Oak Park Credit Union soon thereafter, and represented himself as the authorized representative of the credit union,
Begnaud secured deposits through money brokers from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bergstrom Federal Credit Union, and T.I.C. Federal Credit Union. Begnaud instructed the brokers to deposit these funds in a bank account he had opened in the name of “Oak Park Community C.U. Funding Account.”
Begnaud had designated himself as the authorized signatory, director, and secretary of the account and listed as the federal tax identification number of the account the number assigned to the Oak Park Credit Union.
Begnaud used some of the money deposited in this account to make loans, investments, and various personal purchases.
In March 1984, after investigating rumors that brokered funds supposedly ordered by the Oak Park Credit Union had not been deposited in the credit union’s account, the Missouri State Division of Credit Unions took control of the Oak Park Credit Union and froze Begnaud’s accounts.
Mike Begnaud was then charged and convicted with wire fraud for illegally transferring funds belonging to the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs in an amount of $5,267,000 from the United States Treasury Department, Federal Reserve Bank, New York, New York, to the account of Mark Twain Bank South, Kansas City, Missouri with the intention of obtaining money by false pretenses, statements or representations, using wire communications to willfully and knowingly effect the transfer of $5,267,000.00 through a scheme to defraud.
On appeal, Begnaud conceded that the government presented substantial proof that Begnaud made many misrepresentations relating to the scheme to defraud, such as representing to potential depositors that the credit union had assets of over $6 million, telling the Oak Park Credit Union that he had to be appointed to its board of directors in order to solicit funds on the credit union’s behalf, and reporting to the credit union’s board of directors only $500,000.00 of the almost $8 million in deposits Begnaud had solicited.
However, the appeal was rejected by the Appellate Count, and Begnaud was sent to a federal prison to serve several years for his massive theft, which is considered one the largest thefts in Kansas City history.

John Murphy

As reported in the Source Missouri is facing a $750,000,000 budget shortfall next year. This does not bode well for a state whose urban population (living in St. Louis or Kansas City) reside in cities with unaccredited school districts. Regarding Kansas City, This has been and will continue to have especially dire consequences for the city and state tax coffers –why? Because unlike the middle class in St. Louis, who tend to move into the tony suburbs around that city-which are in Missouri, the middle class in Kansas city have been and will continue to relocate into Johnson County, Kansas. Thereby taking their tax dollars and spending dollars (supply-siders take note) with them to Kansas. Once they move to Kansas they are not coming back and neither is the tax revenue. As Long as the miscreants who run the Kansas City, MO School District continue to drive it into the ground this will be the case.
While this problem is dire, it is not hopeless but it will take some quick outside the box thinking and creative solutions. Here’s a proposal of how the state can immediately save tax dollars, keep the middle class and their revenue streams from leaving the state plus help the poorly served-educationally deprived inner city families.
Recently, George Henry, Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, testified before the state legislature that the Archdiocese of Saint Louis had room and was prepared to accept all 21,000 students from the failed St. Louis City, MO. School District. Were this to occur the amount of savings to the Missouri taxpayer would be astronomical. It costs the district roughly $16,000 per student to educate; it roughly costs the Archdiocese only $5,000 per student. Moving students from the unaccredited Saint Louis City School District into the fully credited schools of Archdiocese of Saint Louis would save the Missouri Tax payer about $225,000,000 a year. In Kansas City moving the 14,051 students out of its unaccredited school district into the nationally accredited schools of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph (assuming they have the space) would save the Missouri Tax payer $134,000,000 each year. Presently the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph has almost as many students as the Kansas City, Missouri School District. There is an issue preventing this tax saving nirvana from occurring. Currently state education dollars do not follow the student this practice needs to change. While it is unrealistic that every student in the failing school districts would choose to attend a Catholic School, it is astonishing to see that private schools educate students far better and for much less than the state sponsored public schools do. The largest (by number of students) educators in the nation after the state sponsored schools are the parochial schools. The current system where the state spends $500,000,000 each and every year on two failed school districts has got to end. It has robbed the taxpayers of its treasure and robbed its students of the promise of America-opportunity. It is time to emancipate students from these 2 failed districts and allow the parents of these students the freedom of choice to choose the schools to send their children to.

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