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WASHINGTON, MO. — A police lieutenant here stole more than $29,000 intended for a student career exploration program, the U.S. Attorney's office said Monday.

Paul Kesterson, 48, of Washington, pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis to one felony count of access device fraud.

Kesterson was director of the St. Louis Area Law Enforcement Exploring Association between Feb. 1, 2018, and April 2019, and handled all finances and the Explorer Academy training, prosecutors said. He was also a police lieutenant at the time.

Kesterson admitted misusing an association credit/debit card for more than $29,000 in personal purchases, prosecutors said. He was caught after the assistant director got a call from the bank about a late credit card payment, triggering an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service and police in Washington and O’Fallon, Mo., prosecutors said.

Kesterson will be ordered to repay the money at his Sept. 10 sentencing hearing and could face prison time or a fine, prosecutors said. His LinkedIn profile says he spent 15 years with Washington police and 10 years before that with the Cape Girardeau Police Department.

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