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Press Release

Former Hancock County Judge Sentenced

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Georgia

Michael J. Moore, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, announced that Marva Rice, former Probate Judge for Hancock County,was sentenced today by the Honorable Judge Marc T. Treadwell, United States District Judge, in Macon, Georgia for two counts of theft of federal funds from Hancock County.  Ms. Rice was sentenced to serve 21 months in federal prison and pay restitution in the amount of $63,864.70 to Hancock County.

Ms. Rice entered a guilty plea to the charges on October 23, 2014.  Facts stipulated in the plea agreement showed that as Hancock County Probate Judge, Ms. Rice was responsible for collecting fines and fees and for depositing those funds into the Probate Court bank account. An investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation revealed that in 2012, Ms. Rice failed to deposit funds in the amount of $43,864.70. Then in 2013, after the FBI was conducting its investigation, Ms. Rice used Hancock County funds to pay for her own personal legal fees in the amount of $20,000.

“We count on the people who are sworn to uphold the law and administer justice to do just that.  When Ms. Rice stole these funds, she not only took money she had no right to take, but she also violated the public trust.  It is a sad day to see a judge go from wearing a black robe to wearing a federal prison uniform,” said United States Attorney Michael Moore.

The case was investigated by Special Agent Gregory McClendon of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Graham Thorpe.

Inquiries regarding the case should be directed to Pamela Lightsey at the United States Attorney’s Office at 478-621-2603.

Updated February 19, 2015