Linn Co. Attorney sentenced for stealing thousands from county

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. (KSNT) – A former Linn County Attorney was sentenced on Thursday to one year and one day in prison for stealing $75,000 in electronics and equipment from the county.

John Sutherland, 69, of Mound City, served as the county attorney for 20 years before leaving the job in 2017.

He pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of lying to federal investigators, according to U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister.

Sutherland also must pay $75,000 to the county and pay a fine of $11,000.

In his plea, Sutherland admitted that FBI agents found 13 items stolen from Linn County in his office at the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office. At the time, he was working as an Assistant District Attorney.

“The defendant abused the public trust,” McAllister said. “He used his elected position as county attorney to steal more than $75,000 from the Linn County taxpayers who had placed their trust in him as the county’s top law enforcement official. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were approximately 9,750 people in Linn County in 2018. The median household income was $46,576. That means the defendant stole property worth far more than most Linn County residents earn in a year.”

When FBI agents interviewed him, Sutherland denied that he had done anything wrong and made other false statements.

In addition to his sentencing and fines, he agreed to surrender his license to practice law.

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