Crystal Jo Collier, the former director of the Great Bend Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, was bound over for trial on two felony charges filed against her in 2017. At a preliminary hearing Wednesday in Barton County District Court, Magistrate Judge Richard Burgess determined that probable cause was found on both counts and Collier’s arraignment was scheduled for 9 a.m. on April 25.
Collier retired in December 2015 after 30 years of working at the CVB. A month after her retirement, the City of Great Bend took over management of the bureau and city officials asked the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to probe the records for any improprieties.
“As the result of discrepancies noted in reimbursements for expenses paid to her by the CVB, almost $35,000 could not be accounted for during an examination of her credit card transactions against other documents,” according to a news release issued Thursday by the office of Barton County Attorney Amy Mellor. “Along with the unexplained credit card charges, the investigation showed that records were falsified to show a payment for a business expense when the monies actually went elsewhere.”
Collier is charged with one count of theft by deception, a level 7 non-person felony alleged to have occurred between the dates of July 28, 2012, and Jan. 13, 2015, and one count of making false information, a level 8 nonperson felony alleged to have occurred on Jan. 17, 2013, with the creation of a check stub.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant County Attorney Douglas Matthews.
If found guilty, the standard sentence under Kansas guidelines would be probation. However, Mellor stressed that Collier has yet to be tried on the charges and is presumed to be innocent.
Collier remains free on bond.