Former convention center director pleads guilty to embezzlement

John Patrick Kerr (Source: McCracken County Jail)
John Patrick Kerr (Source: McCracken County Jail)
Susan Wilson (Source: McCracken County Jail)
Susan Wilson (Source: McCracken County Jail)

PADUCAH, KY (KFVS) - The former Executive Director and vendor of the Paducah-McCracken County Convention Center Corporation pleaded guilty Friday in United States District Court to theft and embezzlement of property, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office/Western District Kentucky.

John Patrick Kerr Jr. is accused of stealing or taking more than $200,000 using a fake vendor for website and creative services.

According to the indictment, John Patrick Kerr Jr., 43, of Paducah, acting as Executive Director of the Paducah-McCracken County Convention Center Corporation (the Convention Center) aided and abetted by defendant Susan H. Wilson, 52, of Paducah, embezzled and stole, without authority, about $200,000 in Convention Center funds beginning on or about Sept. 20, 2010, and continuing to Oct. 6, 2011.

Kerr and Wilson were charged on Jan. 4, 2012, and were indicted by a federal grand jury meeting in Paducah, Kentucky on Jan. 11, 2012.

Kerr is accused of devising a scheme to embezzle at least $200,000 from the Center's business account to support his dependency on pain medication.

He is accused of creating fraudulent invoices on his work computer, made payable to Wilson, then issued Wilson fraudulent Convention Center business checks.

The two are accused of splitting the proceeds. Kerr contracted Wilson at an hourly rate of $120 per hour for advertising services that were allegedly never rendered.

Kerr and Wilson were initially arrested after an investigation by the Paducah Police Department and indicted in McCracken Circuit Court Dec. 16, 2011, on felony theft charges.

Kerr and Wilson face a possible sentence of 20 years in prison, a $500,000 fine and supervised release for a term of three years.

Their sentencing is scheduled for June 8, 2012, at 10:30 a.m. in U.S. District Court, Paducah, Kentucky.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Marisa Ford and is being investigated by the United States Secret Service and the Paducah, Kentucky Police Department.

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