LEXINGTON, KY - A former employee of an agriculture program in eastern Kentucky admitted in federal court she defrauded the program out of more than $200,000.
Debra Marshall, 49, of Clayhole, KY., pleaded guilty Monday to mail fraud.
Marshall worked as the District Administrative Secretary for the Breathitt County Conservation District (BCCD), a program that administers federal, state, and local grants and provides other assistance to county farmers. In this position she had day-to-day control over the operations and the finances of the organization.
According to her plea agreement, from 2005 until March 2010, Marshall took money from the District in a variety of ways, including issuing herself extra paychecks, embezzling grant money that was intended to go to local farmers, and using the District’s credit card for personal purchases. When the District’s operating account dwindled because of her scheme, Marshall cashed the BCCD’s certificates of deposit without authorization and placed that money into the District’s operating account.
Marshall admitted she covered up the scheme by falsifying accounting records and submitting financial reports that falsely inflated the District’s financial condition.
BCCD uses local, state, and federal funding to promote soil conservation, efficient utilization of natural resources and progressive farming practices.
Marshall was indicted in July 2012.
Kerry B. Harvey, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Perrye K. Turner, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Rodney Brewer, Commissioner of the Kentucky State Police jointly made the announcement today.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Kentucky State Police. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kenneth R. Taylor and Andrew T. Boone.
Marshall will appear for sentencing on June 10, 2013. Mail fraud carries a maximum of 20 years in prison. However, the Court will impose sentence after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the applicable federal statutes.