PADUCAH, KY (KFVS) - The Kentucky Attorney General, the United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky, and representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigations were in Paducah on Wednesday, Nov. 16 to talk about two criminal cases.
Authorities say the investigation has been ongoing for the past year and charges were finally filed against the people involved.
The two cases involve large amounts of money by people holding high positions in the Kentucky community.
Because there's big money involved in both cases, we asked U.S. Attorney of Western Kentucky John Kuhn about the financial effect on these communities.
"I don't believe we have alleged any loss to the county, in the case of the judge executive," Kuhn said. "There have been overcharges with respect to the jail project and there will almost certainly be a restitution order for that to be paid."
Both situations are incidents investigators made very clear have no place in Kentucky leadership.
Fulton County Case
In one case, a retired Fulton County jailer and four contractors are accused of receiving kickbacks from the construction on the Fulton County Detention Center.
Ricky Parnell, 59, of Hickman, Kentucky; Ronald Armstrong, 60, of Dresden, Tennessee; Jimmy Boyd, 56, of South Fulton, Tennessee; Michael Homra, 79, of Fulton, Kentucky; and Daniel Larcom, 42, of Union City, Tennessee all face charges of Honest Services Fraud and multiple counts of wire Fraud.
Investigators say from April 2015 until August 2016, Parnell, who served as the Fulton County Jailer from 1990 until earlier this year, used his position to solicit and accept gifts and payments from the other defendants in exchange for convincing the Fulton County Fiscal Court to award contracts to the defendants on the construction of the Fulton County Detention Center.
Investigators say Parnell also told Armstrong, Boyd, Homra, and Larcom to overcharge Fulton County for services and supplies related to the project. Then, the defendants are accused of using the excess money to Parnell as a kickback.
According to the indictment, Parnell received at least $175,000 in money and other items of value.
Armstrong, Boyd, Homra, and Larcom are accused of doing things to cover up their dealings with Parnell.
Ballard County Case
The second case stems from what the U.S. Attorney's Office calls a scheme collect hundreds of thousands of dollars from operating funds for Ballard County.
According to a release, current Judge-Executive Vickie Viniard, 60, and former Ballard County treasurer Belinda Foster, 50, were charged by grand jury indictment for bank fraud, wire fraud, and making false statements on a loan application.
Viniard and Foster are accused of taking out $450,000 in bank loans from a bank in Wickliffe and used a $500,000 Ballard County Certificate of Deposit as collateral for the loans.
On April 17, 2014, on behalf of the Ballard County Fiscal Court, Viniard applied for and was granted a $300,000 loan from First Community Bank in Wickliffe, Kentucky. As collateral for the loan, Viniard pledged a $504,038.54 Certificate of Deposit belonging to the Ballard County Fiscal Court that was also held by First Community Bank.
Upon approval of the loan, $300,000 was deposited into the Ballard County Fiscal Court's account with First Community Bank. On June 12, 2014, on behalf of the Ballard County Fiscal Court, Viniard and Foster applied for and were granted a $150,000 loan from First Community Bank in Wickliffe.
As collateral for the Loan, Viniard and foster pledged the same CD which had also been used as collateral for the $300,000 loan.
Upon approval of the $150,000 loan, $50,000 was deposited into the Ballard County Fiscal Court's account with First Community Bank and $100,000 was wired to Huntington National Bank in Columbus, Ohio as partial satisfaction of a Ballard County bond obligation.
On April 17, 2014, Viniard allegedly executed documents, authorizing herself, as County Judge-Executive, to borrow money. The Ballard County Fiscal Court gave Viniard no such authorization and was unaware of the loans or the County's CD being used as collateral for the loans because Viniard withheld this information.
Further, Viniard allegedly directed Foster to intentionally conceal the loan proceeds, which Foster did by labeling the loans as "payroll tax" receipts instead of income from loan proceeds. Foster also did not account for the $100,000 that was wired to Huntington National Bank in Columbus, Ohio.
Additionally, Foster was authorized to write checks for medical reimbursement payments to Ballard County employees, including herself, and, using this authority, allegedly obtained at least $27,000 in fraudulent medical reimbursement payments.
All others do not have court cases scheduled at this time.
Foster was arraigned on Nov. 16.
Vickie Viniard has her first arraignment on Dec. 8 at 1:30 pm at the Paducah Courtroom in front of Magistrate Judge Lanny King.