St. Louis jury convicts Fenton political consultant on charges of felony theft

A St. Louis jury last week convicted a political consultant on felony theft charges of stealing more than $220,000 in 2006 from a St. Louis Community College campaign fund.

Steven Wyatt Earp, 32, Fenton, was found guilty Feb. 5 on two felony counts of stealing more than $25,000. He was found not guilty on a count of stealing more than $500. The jury did not reach a decision on another count of stealing more than $500.

Earp, who claims to be a descendant of iconic frontier marshal Wyatt Earp, faces sentencing April 17. The jury has recommended that Earp serve 11 years in prison — five years on the first count and six years on the second count.

Earp was accused of overbilling the St. Louis Community College campaign committee Citizens for Education and Job Training for his consulting services on an April 2006 tax-rate proposal, according to prosecutors. After the ballot measure was defeated, college officials and campaign committee members said they noticed questionable payments to Earp and requested an investigation.

While the committee raised roughly $600,000, an investigation performed by the FBI and St. Louis Police later found that the committee paid $507,436 to Earp for mailings, canvassing and campaigning.

Investigators found that then-St. Louis Community College board member and Oakville resident Michael Rohrbacker wrote those checks to Earp. Rohrbacker and Earp are friends, prosecutors have said.

The criminal complaint against Earp accused him of falsely charging the committee four times in March 2006. Those four charges were:

• Charging the committee $218,715 for postage while bank accounts and other records show Earp paid only $116,200 for postage.

• Charging $130,720 for printing when Earp only paid $44,230.

• Charging $40,000 for canvassers when Earp only paid $20,620.

• Charging $60,000 to pay $20,000 each to three canvassing supervisors. While two advisers — Earp’s wife, Tiffany, and his brother, John — were paid $20,000, the complaint alleges that a third supervisor was paid only $2,000. Therefore, the complaint alleges that Earp overbilled by $18,000.

Prosecutors have said that days after the April 2006 election, Earp bought a BMW and a Lexus in addition to a $10,000 engagement ring for Tiffany Boyer-Earp.

Boyer-Earp began serving in January as executive assistant to 6th District County Councilman Steve Stenger, D-south county.

Earp’s attorney, Clinton Wright, has contended that Earp never deceived anyone and told the campaign committee that his services would cost $350,000 and he collected that amount.

Earp also still faces a charge in St. Louis County for “failure to file/pay a Missouri income tax return.” On Jan. 2, Earp was served a grand-jury indictment warrant on that charge.