A Hastings man described by the government as a pastor and former insurance agent and partner in a construction company made his first court appearance Friday in U.S. District Court in Lincoln following his indictment on mail and wire fraud charges.
Codie Malesker's attorney, Seth Morris, entered not guilty pleas to all five counts.
If convicted, each could get Malesker up to 20 years in federal prison. His trial tentatively was set in January.
Morris declined to comment when reached Monday.
In a six-page indictment, the grand jury alleges that Malesker used his employment as an insurance agent at Malesker Agency, as a pastor and board member at Faith Community Tabernacle and as a partner at Shaun Peck Family Construction to file fraudulent claims and collect the proceeds.
In the complaint, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Lynch said between Sept. 30, 2013, through July 31, 2017, Malesker got away with $76,296 in the scheme and tried to get roughly $25,000 more.
Lynch alleged Malesker diverted $107,402 in both legitimate and illegitimate insurance claim proceeds and refunds from policies he issued.
He said in September 2013, Malesker sold an insurance policy for Faith Community Tabernacle through Sentinel Insurance Co. and three years later filed a claim representing himself as the president of the board saying the church had been damaged in a storm July 6, 2016.
Based on fake contractor and subcontractor invoices, the insurance company transferred $81,859 to the church bank account; then, Malesker issued $49,088 in checks from the account to the construction company to which he was a partner, Lynch alleged.
He said Malesker diverted $19,238 of those funds into his personal accounts, and transferred an additional $29,293 from the church's account to his personal accounts.
Lynch said Malesker also made multiple fraudulent claims on separate policies about cash stolen from his insurance agency and about cash church donations.
Prosecutors did not seek his detention pending trial.
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