News and Press Releases

Convention Center’s Former Executive Director Sentenced To 24 Months In Prison For Embezzlement

– Convention Center’s vendor sentenced to 18 months
– Ordered to jointly and severally pay $248,120 in restitution

June 7, 2012

PADUCAH, Ky. - The former Executive Director and vendor of the Paducah-McCracken County Convention Center Corporation were each sentenced to terms of imprisonment today, in United States District Court, by Chief U.S. District Judge Joseph H. McKinley, Jr. after pleading guilty to theft and embezzlement of property, announced David J. Hale, United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky.

J. Patrick Kerr, Jr., 43, of Paducah, Kentucky, was sentenced to 24 months in prison, followed by a two year period of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution. Susan H. Wilson, 52 of Paducah, Kentucky, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison, followed by two years of supervised release and order to pay restitution. Chief Judge McKinley ordered the defendants to pay $248,120 jointly and severally in restitution; meaning a total of $248,000 must be paid. There is no parole or “shock” probation in the federal justice system.

According to the Indictment, defendant Kerr Jr., acting as Executive Director of the Paducah-McCracken County Convention Center Corporation (the Convention Center) aided and abetted by defendant Wilson, embezzled and stole, without authority, approximately $215,000 in Convention Center funds beginning on or about September 20, 2010, and continuing to October 6, 2011.

“They devised a scheme to steal money that was intended for the greater good of the Paducah community,” stated U.S. Attorney David J. Hale. “In doing so, they violated the public’s trust and harmed an important community asset. The Paducah Police Department, McCracken County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office and United States Secret Service should be commended for their swift and thorough investigations. The community and the cause of justice have been served by a collaborative law enforcement effort in this matter. My office will continue to vigorously prosecute those whose illegal activities harm important community assets.”

“Insider theft continues to be a prolific crime, especially in light of today’s economy. This is why it is so important that business owners and managers have an independent third party review their books. The US Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force, through its partnership with local law enforcement, businesses, and academia, is committed to aggressively investigating, pursuing and prosecuting these criminals,” stated Special Agent in Charge, Paul R. Johnson, United States Secret Service Louisville Field Office.

According to information presented in court, Kerr, while Executive Director of the Convention Center, aided and abetted by Wilson, devised a scheme to embezzle at least $215,000 from the Center’s business account to support his dependency on pain medication. Beginning in August 2010, Kerr created fraudulent invoices on his work computer, made payable to Wilson, then issued Wilson fraudulent Convention Center business checks. It is further alleged that the defendants split the proceeds. Kerr contracted Wilson at an hourly rate of $120 per hour for advertising services that were never rendered.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Marisa Ford and was investigated by the United States Secret Service and the Paducah Police Department.

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