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Ex-State Fair finance head gets jail, probation for theft

Nebraska State Fair Logo.

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) — The former finance director of the Nebraska State Fair has been sentenced to 30 days in jail and 15 years' probation for stealing more than $100,000 from the fair. 30-year-old Patrick Kopke received the sentence Friday and was ordered to pay restitution of more than $158,000 to the State Fair. He was also ordered to undergo counseling for a gambling addiction. Kopke pleaded no contest in August to three counts of felony theft. He was charged after a state audit showed a company he created had been paid nearly $150,000 from state funds but did not perform any work for the fair. The auditors said Kopke used bank accounts from the company to pay more than $100,000 in personal expenses.

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