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Former director of St. Louis-area police association admits stealing funds

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ST. LOUIS – A former Washington, Missouri police lieutenant faces 15 years in federal prison after pleading guilty in US District Court to stealing funds from a local officers association.

According to court documents, 48-year-old Paul Kesterson worked in the Washington Police Department and, between February 2018 and April 2019, served as director of the St. Louis Area Law Enforcement Exploring Association (STLEEA). As the director, Kesterson handled the group’s finances and managed the explorer academy program.

Kesterson was given a debit/credit card so he could have immediate access to group funds to use for the organization’s benefit.

At one point, the group’s assistant director received a phone call from US Bank concerning a late credit card payment. The organization launched an internal investigation into Kesterson’s use of the STLEEA account and the Washington Police Department bank account.

The investigation revealed Kesterson had used the debit/credit card to make personal purchases. He spent over $29,000 of the organization’s money.

Kesterson pleaded guilty to one count of information – access device fraud. He’ll be sentenced September 10.

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