Former councilman faces 15 felony counts

Darin Rahm

MARSHALL — A criminal complaint filed in Lyon County District Court on Monday alleges that Darin Rahm created “phantom” vendor accounts to steal about $256,000 from the Marshall Convention and Visitor’s Bureau during his four years as director.

Rahm, 49, of Marshall, appeared in court Monday for the first time since his arrest Friday. He was charged with theft, embezzling public funds and financial transaction card fraud. A future hearing date for Rahm was set for Feb. 19.

Rahm was director of the Marshall CVB from October 2014 to June 2018, when his employment was terminated. He is also a former Fairmont City Council member, who stepped down from the council to take the job in Marshall.

On Friday, Marshall police said Rahm was arrested for probable cause felony theft, after a seven-month investigation into financial irregularities at the CVB.

In court Monday, Rahm was charged with seven counts of theft, one count of embezzling public funds, and seven counts of financial transaction card fraud. All 15 charges are felonies. The complaint alleges Rahm created the “phantom” vendor accounts — fictitious companies with names similar to legitimate vendors — to transfer funds to his own accounts. The complaint alleges that between Jan. 1, 2015, and June 30, 2018, a total of $256,522 was stolen.

The Marshall CVB is a nonprofit corporation funded largely by public funds, including a percentage of revenues from the Marshall city lodging tax, the complaint said.

Rahm appeared in custody at Monday’s hearing, where the charges against him were read and bail was set.

Assistant Lyon County Attorney Abby Wikelius said the state was requesting Rahm’s bail be set at $70,000 without conditions or $50,000 with conditions. She said the bail request reflected the seriousness of the charges, and concerns that Rahm might not make future court appearances.

Attorney Kevin Stroup argued that Rahm was not a flight risk. Rahm has continued to live in Marshall for the past seven months, even though it appeared likely criminal charges would be coming against him, he said.

“He has not left the area,” Stroup said. “He’s not going to leave the area.”

Judge Tricia Zimmer set Rahm’s bail at $50,000 without conditions, or $35,000 with conditions, including that Rahm appear in court, abstain from alcohol and drugs, and not enter the CVB office or have contact with CVB employees.

Last week, the CVB and the city of Marshall said the CVB is taking steps to prevent theft in the future. The CVB has sought support from a public tax accounting firm to further establish accounting procedures and protocols in all of the organization’s financial transactions.

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