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KS Priest & NY Businessman Indicted in Scheme to Defraud Foster Care Program

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TOPEKA, KAN. – A federal grand jury in Topeka returned an indictment charging a Kansas priest and a New York businessman in connection with a scheme to defraud a foster care organization of $10 million.

According to court documents, Robert Nelson Smith, 50, of Salina is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 15 counts of wire fraud, and one count of money laundering.

William Byrd Whymark, 50, of Mount Kisco, New York, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 10 counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering.

Saint Francis Ministries (SFM) is a 501c(3) faith-based organization in Salina, Kansas, that provides foster care and social services in the states of Kansas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. In 2018, the SFM board agreed to upgrade its IT systems, hardware, and software programs. As the SFM Chief Executive Officer, Robert Smith, an ordained Episcopal priest, entered into an agreement on behalf of SFM with a company owned by William Whymark. Smith is accused of approving and authorizing payments of fraudulent, overinflated invoices submitted by Whymark.

Smith is also accused of using SFM credit cards for personal, unauthorized expenditures.

Robert Smith is scheduled for his initial court appearance today at 1:30 p.m. before a U.S. Magistrate Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christine Kenney and Skipper Jacobs are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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