Southwest Missouri man sentenced to prison for embezzling $4.9 million from Joplin company

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SPRINGFIELD, Missouri — A southwest Missouri man is going to prison for embezzling more than $4.9 million from his employer and spending the money on gambling, a tractor and other personal expenses.

Sixty-one-year-old David VanWinkle, of Neosho, pleaded guilty in February to multiple charges in the theft from Frontier Leasing Inc., a Joplin company where he worked as the comptroller.

The U.S. Attorney's office says VanWinkle was sentenced Friday to five years and 10 months in federal prison without parole. He was also ordered to forfeit the $4.9 million, the tractor and other items to the government.

VanWinkle admitted stealing from Frontier Leasing from June 2008 to December 2013. Prosecutors said the embezzlement put a financial strain on the company, whose employees took voluntary pay cuts to keep the business going.

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