5:53 PM
The former postmaster in Republic has been indicted on charges of misappropriating more than $40,000.

Donna Rippee, 62, of Republic, was charged in a two-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield.

Today’s indictment alleges that Rippee converted to her own use $40,374 that had come into her hands and was under her control in the execution of her postal duties between Jan. 1, 2002, and Feb. 7, 2008.

The second count of the federal indictment alleges that Rippee misappropriated $2,000 in postal money orders on December 24, 2007.

Rippee is a well known community leader in Republic.

In 1997 she became the first female president of the city’s Chamber of Commerce. In 1999 was awarded the “I Believe I Can Fly” for outstanding performance as an employee of the U.S. Postal Service.

In 2000 Rippee was named Woman of the Year by Missouri Business and Professional Women.

If she’s convicted, Rippee could receive prison sentences up to 10 years and/or fines up to $250,000 on each count.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eggert, and was investigated by the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General.

UPDATE 02-01-10:

Donna Rippee pleaded guilty to the charges in federal court today.

Rippee admitted that, between Jan. 1, 2002, and Feb. 7, 2008, she converted postal funds to her own use. Rippee admitted that she withdrew $2,000 from the postal account held at the U.S. Post Office and purchased two $1,000 money orders made payable to herself in an effort to cover up an approximately $40,000 shortfall in another postal account under her control.

Under federal statutes, Rippee is subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000 and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.