March 11, 2010
A St. Mary's man is charged with stealing more than $890,000 from his mother’s trust fund, U.S. Attorney Lanny Welch said today.
Kent Gockel, 52, is charged with 11 counts of bank fraud. The crimes are alleged to have occurred in 2008 in Pottawatomie County.
According to the indictment, a trust was established by Gockel’s father, Francis Gockel, who owned a grocery store he started in 1949 in St. Marys. When Francis Gockel died in 2002, his trust was changed to a trust for his wife, Wilma Gockel, and a separate family trust for their three children. After Francis Gockel’s death, Kent Joseph Gockel began taking care of Wilma Gockel’s finances.
In July 2007, Wilma Gockel learned that her trust account at Silver Lake Bank was overdrawn. Bank records showed Kent Joseph Gockel had been writing checks to himself or cash from Wilma Gockel’s account without her knowledge. In January 2009, Wilma Gockel learned that another account she had at Kaw Valley State Bank had been almost emptied. Bank records showed that Kent Joseph Gockel had wired money or written checks from the account totaling more than $500,000 without his mother’s knowledge or consent. He made wire transfers to accounts in San Jose, Costa Rica, and St. John’s, Antigua, West Indies.
Investigators also determined that Kent Joseph Gockel made cash withdrawals from Wilma Gockel’s trust account at the First National Bank in St. Marys, totaling more than $391,000 without her knowledge or consent.
If convicted, Kent Joseph Gockel faces a maximum penalty of 30 years and a fine up to $1 million on each count.