Tennessee Contractor Sentenced For Giving Kickbacks Tied To Construction Of Fulton County Detention Center
Sentenced to 35 months imprisonment; Ordered to pay $100,000 restitution
PADUCAH, Ky. – a Dresden, Tennessee, business owner and contract supplier was sentenced to 35 months in prison and ordered to pay $100,000 restitution today in United States District Court by Senior Judge Thomas B. Russell for his role in a conspiracy to defraud Fulton County citizens, through kickbacks and concealment of costs associated with work performed on the 2015 Fulton County Detention Center expansion, announced United States Attorney John E. Kuhn, Jr.
“Public corruption, in any form, cannot be tolerated," stated U.S. Attorney John Kuhn. "When contractors pay kickbacks to public officials, they effectively steal from taxpayers and facilitate the corruption. Public office must never be used for unlawful self-enrichment, whether by our elected officials or those having business with government agencies. The Department of Justice will work to prevent this corruption and maintain the public's trust in government integrity."
Ronald D. Armstrong, 60, pled guilty to four charges including Honest Services Wire Fraud and Wire Fraud for his role in a conspiracy that involved then Fulton County Jailer Ricky D. Parnell and others between April 2015 and August 2016. Judge Russell sentenced Armstrong to 35 months of confinement and ordered that he pay $100,000 in restitution to Fulton County.
Armstrong is the owner of Armstrong Construction, located in Dresden, Tennessee, whose company often performed contracting work for Fulton County both as part of the Fulton County Detention Center expansion (Project) and for work done prior to the Project. Armstrong has been doing business with Parnell and Fulton County for approximately twenty years.
Armstrong was awarded a $210,000 general contractor contract by the Fulton County Fiscal Court as part of the Project. Parnell influenced the Fulton County Fiscal Court to award Armstrong with this contract with the understanding that Armstrong would pay Parnell $100,000 of his fees to Parnell as a kickback for being awarded the contract. In following through with this agreement, Armstrong so far has paid Parnell $80,000 in cash.
Armstrong knowingly and voluntarily agreed and conspired with Parnell to give Parnell cash kickbacks due to Parnell influencing the Fulton County Fiscal Court to award Armstrong with the general contractor contract for the Project, which Parnell could do because he was the Fulton County Jailer. Armstrong’s contractor fees were paid by Fulton County. As part of their kickback scheme, the Fiscal Court paid Armstrong by check in amounts of $50,000, $60,000, and $50,000, which were drawn on the Fulton County account with Republic Bank in Louisville, Kentucky, and those checks triggered interstate wire transfers.
Armstrong and Parnell both profited from their arrangement and neither the Fulton County Fiscal Court nor the citizens of Fulton County were ever made aware of the arrangement. In doing so, Armstrong had the intent to defraud the citizens of Fulton County through the kickback scheme he entered into with Parnell.
Armstrong was charged by grand jury indictment, with co-defendants Ricky D. Parnell of Hickman, Kentucky; Michael Homra of Fulton, Kentucky; Jimmy Boyd of South Fulton, Tennessee; and Daniel C. Larcom, of Union City, Tennessee, on November 15, 2016 and were arraigned in United States District Court in Paducah, before Magistrate Judge Lanny King that same day. Larcom will be sentenced on June 15th and Parnell will be sentenced on July 24th. Charges against Boyd were dismissed on motion of the United States.
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).