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Manager facing charges

9/17/2013

By MIKE CORN

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

DIGHTON -- The former manager of the Lane-Scott Electric Cooperative has been arrested and charged with the embezzlement of more than $100,000 from a co-op subsidiary.

The arrest of Earl N. Steffens, 59, Dighton, was made Aug. 23, the same day as a pair of theft charges were filed in Lane County District Court, according to Lane County Attorney Dale Pike. The charges were a culmination of a Kansas Bureau of Investigation review.

Steffens had served as general manager of the cooperative until earlier this year, a position he had since 2001.

Based in Dighton, Lane-Scott provides electricity to parts of Rush, Gove and Logan counties and most of Ness County, in addition to all of Lane County and portions of Scott and Finney counties.

Lane-Scott is one of the six electric cooperatives that together own Hays-based Sunflower Electric.

Pike said Steffens was charged with the theft of more than $100,000 from High Line Services LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lane-Scott.

That's the highest threshold covered by the law governing theft.

Pike said the alleged embezzlement was substantially higher than that, but he declined to say how much more. The alleged theft spanned a period from Jan. 1, 2008, through Feb. 8, 2012, according to the complaint.

Steffens also was charged with a second count of theft of $9,960 through the improper use of a credit card, Pike said. That charge also lists High Line Services as the victim.

Steffens has been released on $30,000 bond, and a status conference hearing has been set for Oct. 17 in Lane County District Court.