Ballard County Judge Executive And Former Ballard County Treasurer Charged With Bank Fraud, Wire Fraud, And Making False Statements On A Loan Application
PADUCAH, Ky. – United States Attorney John E. Kuhn, Jr., joined by Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear, and FBI Special Agent in Charge Amy S. Hess, announced charges today against the current Ballard County Judge-Executive and former Ballard County Treasurer for executing a scheme that involved obtaining approximately $450,000 in bank loans using a $500,000 Ballard County Certificate of Deposit as collateral for the loans, all without authorization from the Ballard County Fiscal Court. Viniard and Foster obtained the loans and pledged the collateral in order to secretly procure operating funds for Ballard County, Kentucky.
Vickie Louise Viniard, 60, the current Judge-Executive and Belinda Janean Foster, 50, the former Ballard County Treasurer, were charged by grand jury indictment on November 15, 2016, with counts of bank fraud, wire fraud, and making false statements on a loan application. Foster was arraigned this morning, in United States District Court in Paducah, before Magistrate Judge Lanny King. Viniard will make first appearance at a later date.
According to the indictment, between April 2014 and October 2015, defendants Viniard and Foster executed a scheme by misrepresenting to First Community Bank that Viniard had the authority to apply for two loans and had the authority to pledge a Ballard County asset (certificate of deposit) as collateral for these loans.
On April 17, 2014, on behalf of the Ballard County Fiscal Court, Viniard applied for and was granted a $300,000 loan from First Community Bank in Wickliffe, Kentucky. As collateral for the loan, Viniard pledged a $504,038.54 Certificate of Deposit belonging to the Ballard County Fiscal Court that was also held by First Community Bank. Upon approval of the loan, $300,000 was deposited into the Ballard County Fiscal Court’s account with First Community Bank. On June 12, 2014, on behalf of the Ballard County Fiscal Court, Viniard and Foster applied for and were granted a $150,000 loan from First Community Bank in Wickliffe. As collateral for the Loan, Viniard and foster pledged the same CD which had also been used as collateral for the $300,000 loan. Upon approval of the $150,000 loan, $50,000 was deposited into the Ballard County Fiscal Court’s account with First Community Bank and $100,000 was wired to Huntington National Bank in Columbus, Ohio as partial satisfaction of a Ballard County bond obligation.
On April 17, 2014, Viniard allegedly executed documents, authorizing herself, as County Judge-Executive, to borrow money. The Ballard County Fiscal Court gave Viniard no such authorization and was unaware of the loans or the County’s CD being used as collateral for the loans because Viniard withheld this information.
Further, Viniard allegedly directed Foster to intentionally conceal the loan proceeds, which Foster did by labeling the loans as “payroll tax” receipts instead of income from loan proceeds. Foster also did not account for the $100,000 that was wired to Huntington National Bank in Columbus, Ohio.
Additionally, Foster was authorized to write checks for medical reimbursement payments to Ballard County employees, including herself, and, using this authority, allegedly obtained at least $27,000 in fraudulent medical reimbursement payments.
If convicted at trial, bank fraud and making false statements on a loan application carry a sentence of no more than 30 years in prison per count, and wire fraud carries a sentence of no more than 20 years in prison for each count. Also, the defendants could be fined up to $2,000,000 for fraud charges and $250,000 for each count of wire fraud. The judge could further impose a period of supervised release.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nute Bonner and is being investigated by the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The indictment of a person by a Grand Jury is an accusation only and that person is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty