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ST. LOUIS – A Festus man admitted to stealing more than $854,000 from his employer in a series of schemes since 2017.

Ryan S. Kent, 44, pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to one felony wire fraud charge.

Investigators say Kent worked at a maintenance supervisor at a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in St. Louis, and he falsely sought and received reimbursement for fictitious purchases and travel while employed. He was responsible for repairing broken equipment or buying new equipment.

In 2017, Kent bought supplies and equipment with his personal debit or credit card. According to his plea deal, he later doctored the receipts to inflate the amount of purchase before submitting them to his company.

Investigators say he would also submit completely fictitious invoices and sought reimbursement for costs that he never incurred to travel to pick up parts or equipment. He also bought supplies at Home Depot, returned them and then sought reimbursement from the company.

Kent reportedly used the money for personal bills and redo his backyard. According to his plea deal, he also bought a 2021 Chevrolet Silverado, a 2021 Cadillac Escalade and traveled to Las Vegas to gamble.

With the conviction, Kent could be sentenced up to 20 years in prison. He will also be ordered to repay the money. Kent has a sentencing hearing scheduled for Nov. 9.