On Thursday, August 31, 2017 Ranae Leanne Becker, age 47,  of Vinton, Iowa,  appeared in the Iowa District Court in and for Benton County  for pronouncement of judgment and sentence.  Previously, on July 13, 2017, Ms. Becker had entered a guilty plea to the offense of Theft in the First Degree (a class C felony) for embezzling nearly $50,000.00 from the Benton Development Group from January 1, 2009 through June 30, 2014 when she served as the Group’s Executive Director.  The Benton Development Group is a non-profit organization which provides assistance to communities, individuals and businesses in Benton County with economic growth and vitality.  The primary funding source of the Benton Development Group is Benton County.

A Class C Felony under Iowa law is punishable by an indeterminate prison term of ten years and a maximum fine of $10,000.00.  At sentencing, Ms. Becker was granted a Deferred Judgment by the Court, was placed on supervised probation for a period of 5 years, and was ordered to pay victim restitution in the amount of $49,634.36 to the Benton Development Group for her felony theft and the sum of $11,276.79 to Benton County, Iowa to cover the expense of the Iowa State Auditor’s special investigation and audit in this matter.  Ms. Becker was also ordered to pay a civil penalty of $1,000.00, a probation enrollment fee and other related court costs.  The Court’s Order granting Ms. Becker a Deferred Judgment is attached.

This case was investigated by the Vinton Police Department (lead investigator officer Alex Reinert) and the Iowa State’s Auditor’s Office.  In addition, Benton County Attorney’s Office would like to thank Benton Development Group Board member Kristina Kremer who uncovered Ms. Becker’s embezzling when she found financial records  Ms. Becker had thrown away in the garbage.  Ms. Kremer’s realization of what she discovered and quick report of the same to law enforcement made the difference in this case.

A copy of the State Auditor’s Special Investigation can be found here: https://auditor.iowa.gov/reports/1610-0006-BE00 .