Hutchinson’s chief town engineer was fired Thursday after pleading guilty in Rice District Court to mistreating an elderly person for stealing from his mother who was in a nursing home.
Bruce J. Colle, 61, of Hutchinson, pleaded guilty to the Rice County District Court on Wednesday.
District Judge Mike Keely, who accepted the request, set the conviction for September 19 at 11 a.m.
The case emerged from a joint investigation by the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division and the Fraud and Abuse Litigation Division which found that Colle acted as his mother’s power of attorney between December 2013 and December 2015. During that time, he made personal purchases with his mother’s money instead of using the money to pay for her care at a nursing home, according to the Kansas Attorney General’s office following the case.
As part of the plea, Colle agreed to pay the victim $ 45,765 in restitution.
Colle worked for the city a little over two years, said John Deardoff, Hutchinson’s city manager. He served as Director of Engineering.
The city has been aware of the investigation for over a year, but “we were told it was a misunderstanding, etc.,” Deardoff said.
As soon as they found out about the request on Thursday, he resigned Colle, the city administrator said.
“We got the impression that there were other circumstances,” said Deardoff. “Obviously with an admission of guilt, it is certainly something that we cannot tolerate.”
The crime, based on the amount of loss, is a Level 5 crime, which means it can result in either probation or jail time depending on the court.