Former Nebraska State Fair Finance Officer Pleads No Contest In Embezzlement Case

     The former finance officer of the Nebraska State Fair has pleaded No Contest to 3 counts of felony theft for embezzlement. 30-year old Patrick Kopke of Hastings faces up to 20 years on each count when he’s sentenced October 22nd.

     Kopke was accused of stealing what court papers described as “movable property” from the State Fair on three separate occasions in 2019, but other questionable financial transactions were also tied to him.

       The State Auditor released a report last July included 2 checks from the State Fair to a company owned by Kopke totaling almost $150,000 for which the auditor “could identify no benefit received by the State Fair.

     The money was used to buy a pickup, trailer, and ATV and to cover processing fees for a land purchase. The ATV and trailer were sold and the pickup sold or traded after Kopke resigned as finance officer in late 2019. 

      The audit also questioned another nearly $47,000 in transactions made by Kopke using State Fair credit cards in the 12 months ending in November 2019.

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