TN business owner sentenced to prison in kickback scheme involving KY detention center

TN business owner sentenced to prison in kickback scheme involving KY detention center

FULTON COUNTY, KY (KFVS) - A Dresden, Tennessee business owner and contract supplier will spend more than two year in prison for his role in a kickback scheme involving the Fulton County Detention Center expansion.

Ronald D Armstrong, 60, pleaded guilty to four charges including honest services with wire fraud and wire fraud for his role in a conspiracy that allegedly involved then Fulton County Jailer Ricky D. Parnell and others between April 2015 and August 2016.

He was sentenced to 35 months in prison and will also have to pay $100,000 in restitution.

According to the plea agreement, Armstrong is the owner of Armstrong Construction, located in Dresden, Tenn., whose company often performed contracting work for Fulton County both as part of the Fulton County Detention Center expansion and for work done before the project.

Armstrong has been doing business with Parnell and Fulton County for about 20 years.

He was awarded a $210,000 general contractor contract by the Fulton County Fiscal Court as part of the project. He allegedly influenced the Fulton County Fiscal Court to award him with this contract with the understanding that he would pay Parnell $100,000 of his fees to Parnell as a kickback for being awarded the contract. In following through with this agreement, Armstrong so far has paid Parnell $80,000 in cash.

Armstrong knowingly and voluntarily agreed and conspired with Parnell to give Parnell cash kickbacks due to Parnell influencing the Fulton County Fiscal Court to award Armstrong with the general contractor contact for the project, which Parnell could do because he was the Fulton County jailer.

Armstrong's contractor fees were paid by Fulton County.

As part of the alleged kickback scheme, the Fiscal Court paid Armstrong by check in amounts of $50,000, $60,000 and $50,000, which were drawn on the Fulton County account with Republic Bank in Louisville, Ky., and those checks triggered interstate wire transfers.

Armstrong was charged by grand jury indictment, with co-defendants Ricky D. Parnell, 59, of Hickman, Ky.; Michael Homra, 79, of Fulton, Ky.; Jimmy Boyd, 56, of South Fulton, Tenn.; and Daniel C. Larcom, 42, of Union City, Tenn. on Nov. 15, 2016 and were arraigned in U.S. District Court in Paducah, before Magistrate Judge Lanny King that same day.

If convicted at trial, Armstrong could be sentenced to no more than 80 years in prison, pay a $1,000,000 fine and be sentenced to serve a three-year period of supervised release.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nute Bonner and is being investigated by the Kentucky Attorney General's Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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