The former finance director of the Nebraska State Fair has been sentenced to 30 days in jail and 15 years’ probation for stealing more than $100,000 from the fair.
30-year-old Patrick Kopke was also ordered to pay more than $158,000 restitution to the State Fair and undergo counseling for a gambling addiction, but the attorney general’s office says intends to appeal for a harsher sentence.
Kopke pleaded no contest in August to three counts of felony theft. He was charged after a state audit showed a company he created had been paid nearly $150,000 from state funds but did not perform any work for the fair.
The auditors said Kopke used bank accounts from the company to pay more than $100,000 in personal expenses, and they said other questionable financial transactions were tied to him, as well.
Prosecutors had asked that Kopke get 5-to-10 years in prison, leading the Attorney General’s office to issue a statement saying it’s disappointed with the sentence, which it calls “inadequate.”
The statement says Kopke was put in a position of public trust and admitted to violating that trust when he pled guilty to a felony that involved embezzling over $150,000 from the State Fair.