TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

August 29, 2011

Hodge federal sentencing delayed indefinitely


The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — Aug. 26, 2011.pdf

By Becky Killian / Managing Editor

Former Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence Hodge’s federal court sentencing has been delayed indefinitely, according to Kyle Edelen, public affairs officer for the Eastern District’s U.S. Attorney’s office.

Hodge was set to be sentenced in London’s U.S. District Court Thursday afternoon.

During a May court appearance, Hodge pleaded guilty as part of a plea agreement to federal charges of conspiracy to commit extortion, conspiracy to distribute pain pills and conspiracy to launder money.

If the judge accepts Hodge’s plea agreement, the document calls for a sentence of 15 years and six months. He would also have to forfeit $50,000 to the federal government and pay $64,897 in restitution to Whitley County.

Hodge also faces a 21-count indictment on state charges after a special grand jury looked into reported wrongdoings in his office. The indictment charges Hodge with 12 counts of abuse of public trust over $10,000, six counts of abuse of public trust less than $10,000 and three counts of tampering with evidence.

Earlier this week, the audits of Hodge’s 2009 tax and 2010 fee accounts were released by Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts Crit Luallen.

Luallen said audits of Hodge’s office have revealed a total known deficit of more than $240,000.

Luallen said the audits have been forwarded to the FBI. So far, Luallen’s office has forwarded a total of 11 audits to the FBI that found discrepancies in how money was handled in Hodge’s office.

In May while in London’s U.S. District Court, Hodge’s former bookkeeper, Abby Vicki Paul, pleaded guilty to felony embezzlement.

During her court appearance, Paul said Hodge began taking money his first year in office and admitted she altered the books to conceal the missing money.

Paul is set to be sentenced Sept. 1.