TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

September 2, 2011

Hodge bookkeeper sentenced

Paul handed one-year sentence for felony embezzlement


The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — Sept. 2, 2011.pdf

By Carl Keith Greene / Staff Writer

A one-year sentence was imposed Thursday in U.S. District Court in London on Abby Vicky Paul, who once worked as bookkeeper for Whitley County’s former sheriff Lawrence Hodge.

Federal Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove split the sentence to six months in a federal prison and six months of home confinement, to be followed by three years of supervised release.

Paul pleaded guilty to felony embezzlement on May 19 — a week after Hodge’s appearance when he pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering, extortion and drug distribution.

On Thursday, Van Tatenhove also required Paul to make restitution of $25,000. That money was paid to the federal court clerk as she left the U.S. Courthouse.

She is to report to a federal prison on Oct. 4.

Prior to sentencing, Paul’s lawyer, C. Wayne Shepherd, said, “She has cooperated since someone came from the FBI as soon as the investigation (of Hodge) began.”

He added that she was in the wrong place, with the wrong people at the wrong time.

Then Paul spoke to Van Tatenhove, “I know I made mistakes and I am to pay for it.” She said she was truly sorry from the heart.

And she closed saying, “I will serve what you give me.”

Rather than have evidence of what she had done brought before a grand jury for an indictment, an information was issued and she signed a plea agreement noting that she helped Hodge embezzle or launder $222,914 from several accounts of the sheriff’s office between 2003 and 2008. She also admitted helping Hodge embezzle about $58,480 from the office’s fee account.

It began the first year Hodge was in office she said.

An information is a document charging crimes issued by U.S. Attorney offices in lieu of an indictment which must be returned by a grand jury.