Ricky Parnell admitted to receiving kickbacks totaling at least $175,000 from contractors
PADUCAH, Ky. – Retired Fulton County Jailer Ricky Parnell pleaded guilty today in United States District Court before Senior Judge Thomas B. Russell, to his role in a conspiracy to defraud Fulton County, Kentucky, citizens through kickbacks and inflated costs associated with the $3.3 million 2015 Fulton County Detention Center expansion, announced United States Attorney John E. Kuhn, Jr.
“Public corruption simply cannot be tolerated,” stated United States Attorney John Kuhn. “Corrupt public officials erode the fairness and integrity of our public institutions, and they undermine the public’s trust in our government. I hope this conviction will reassure the public that the Department of Justice will hold elected officials to the highest standards of honesty and integrity.”
Parnell, 59, of Hickman, Kentucky, pleaded guilty to Honest Services Fraud and multiple counts of Wire Fraud for using his official position to enrich himself by soliciting and accepting gifts and payments from defendant contractors, in exchange for influencing the Fulton County Fiscal Court to award the defendants contracts on the project.
Parnell admitted to directing Ronald D. Armstrong, 60, of Dresden, Tennessee; Jimmy Boyd, 56, of South Fulton, Tennessee; Michael Homra, 79, of Fulton, Kentucky; and Daniel C. Larcom, 42, of Union City, Tennessee, to intentionally overcharge Fulton County for services and supplies provided as part of jail projects. Parnell presented the inflated invoices and contracts to the Fulton County treasurer for payment to the defendants and their respective companies. In turn, the defendant contractors would use the excess proceeds to pay kickbacks, in the form of both cash and checks, to Parnell. Parnell received at least $175,000 in money and other things of value.
In addition, defendants Armstrong, Boyd, Homra, and Larcom took steps to cover up their activities and dealings with Parnell, including using cash to provide Parnell with kickbacks, structuring withdrawals from banks to use for these kickbacks, and creating false and inflated invoices for services and materials in order to satisfy the cash kickbacks demanded by Parnell.
Contract defendants Larcom, Armstrong and Boyd have pleaded guilty in United States District Court to charges including Honest Service Wire Fraud and Wire Fraud for their individual roles in this conspiracy.
The charged activity took place between April 2015 and August 2016. Parnell served as the Fulton County Jailer from 1990 until late last year and remains free on bond. A sentencing date is scheduled in Paducah, before Senior Judge Russell, on July 3rd.
If convicted at trial, Parnell could be sentenced to no more than 20 years in prison per count, pay a $250,000 fine for each count, and be sentenced to serve a three-year 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).