PINEVILLE, Mo. - The wife of a Delaware County commissioner confessed to stealing money from her employer, but disagreed with authorities on the amount of money stolen, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

Michelle Crowder, 41, of Grove, pleaded guilty in McDonald County Associate Circuit Court in Pineville, Mo., to one count of stealing, a felony.

Telephone calls to Charles R. Rhoades, Crowder’s attorney, were not returned.

Crowder said in court she stole money from Roper Gas Company in Southwest City, said Janice Lynne Durbin, prosecutor.

 “She (Michelle) said she stole somewhere between $30,000 to $35,000, but the state believes the theft is closer to $63,000, so we plan to have an evidentiary hearing to determine how much she stole,” Durbin said. 

Crowder is accused of stealing $62,632.99 from Roper Gas Company in Southwest City, Missouri over the past two years.

Company officials said they noticed the account receivables were unusually high, so they called for an internal audit which revealed Crowder was keeping two sets of books and had inflated the accounts receivables to $78,671.26 when they were in reality only $16,038.27, the probable cause statement shows. 

This is Crowder’s second stint at stealing money from Roper Gas.  In 2005, she confessed to stealing between $30,000 and $40,000 from the company for her own personal use.  The money was paid back and company officials declined to press charges, court records show.

At the time the company discovered the second theft, company officials asked Crowder to pay back the money, but Crowder’s husband, Kenneth, offered to pay $35,000 if company officials “would keep it quiet like they did the last theft,” court records show.  

Kenneth Crowder is Delaware County District One County Commissioner.

In an earlier interview Kenneth Crowder declined to discuss the case on the advice of their attorney.

Sheila Stogsdill can be reached at (918) 787-9581 or by email at sheilastsogsdill@sbcglobal.net.