Retired Fulton Co. jailer sentenced to prison for kickbacks tied to $3.3M project

FULTON COUNTY, KY (KFVS) - A retired jailer was sentenced to serve 97 months in prison for receiving kickbacks and inflated costs associated with the $3.3 million expansion of the Fulton County Detention Center in 2015.

The announcement was made on Monday, July 24 by United States Attorney John E. Kuhn, Jr. Retired Fulton County Jailer Ricky Parnell was sentenced in United States District Court by Senior Judge Thomas B. Russell. There is no parole in the federal prison system.

"Public corruption simply cannot be tolerated," United States Attorney John Kuhn stated. "Corrupt public officials erode the fairness and integrity of our public institutions, and they undermine the public's trust in our government. I hope this conviction and restitution will reassure the public that the Department of Justice will hold elected officials to the highest standards of honesty and integrity – and that we will seek repayment of every tax dollar spent corruptly by public officials."

According to a release from the Department of Justice, Parnell, 59, of Hickman, Ky, is both jointly and severally liable along with co-defendants for the full amount of restitution due totaling $154,000.

Co-defendant Michael Homra paid restitution of $32,500 and Danny Larcom paid restitution of $22,000 at the time of their respective sentencing. The remaining $100,000 balance is due by Parnell and co-defendant Ron Armstrong.

Previously, Parnell pleaded guilty to Honest Services Fraud and multiple counts of Wire Fraud. He pleaded guilty for using his position to enrich himself by soliciting and accepting gifts and payments from defendant contractors, in exchange for influencing the Fulton County Fiscal Court to award the defendants contracts on the project.

Parnell admitted to directing Ronald D. Armstrong, of Dresden, Tn; Jimmy Boyd, of South Fulton, Tn; Michael Homra, of Fulton, Ky; and Daniel C. Larcom, of Union City, Tn, to intentionally overcharge Fulton County for services and supplies provided as part of jail projects.

He presented the inflated invoices and contracts to the Fulton County treasurer for payment to the defendants and their respective companies. In turn, the defendant contractors used the excess proceeds to pay kickbacks, in the form of both cash and checks, to Parnell.

Parnell received at least $175,000 in money and other things of value.

Defendants Armstrong, Homra, and Larcom attempted to cover up their activities and dealings with Parnell. This included using cash to provide Parnell with kickbacks, structuring withdrawals from banks to use for these kickbacks and creating false and inflated invoices for services and materials in order to satisfy the cash kickbacks demanded by Parnell.

Contract defendants Larcom, Armstrong and Boyd pleaded guilty for their individual roles in this conspiracy in United States District Court, to charges including Honest Service Wire Fraud and Wire Fraud.  Armstrong was sentenced to 35 months in prison and Larcom and Homra were sentenced to serve two years of probation.

The charged activity took place between April 2015 and August 2016. Parnell served as the Fulton County Jailer from 1990 until late last year.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nute Bonner and was investigated by the Kentucky Attorney General's Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

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