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Education

Brixey Pleads Guilty, Faces 40 Years in Prison in MSU Bookstore Theft Case

Missouri State University

The former manager of the Missouri State University Bookstore pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday for embezzling more than $1 million from the university’s textbook buyback program.

Mark Brixey was the bookstore manager from 2003 until last August. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri, he pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering, wire fraud, and filing a false tax return. He admitted his scheme began when he pocketed more than $29,000. That amount escalated each year, and in 2010 and 2011, he reportedly stole more than $380,000.

Brixey could face up to 43 years in federal prison without parole. He must forfeit $1,163,237 to the government, which represents the proceeds of the wire fraud scheme, and a number of certificates of deposit that were purchased with proceeds from the fraud scheme. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office is complete.

After an internal audit last summer uncovered more than $400,000 missing from the Bookstore, Brixey resigned and the case was turned over the authorities. The audit was made public Tuesday.

In a statement Tuesday, MSU President Clif Smart thanked the internal audit staff for first identifying the issue, as well as law enforcement. He added that Missouri State has since taken a number of corrective actions to avoid this type of situation from happening again, including ensuring better segregation of duties, eliminating exceptions to policies, and better recording of transactions.

“This has been a very disappointing chapter in our history, but I believe the University has responded appropriately and in a timely manner to bring the issue to light and to assist in finding a resolution,” Smart said.