Attorney General Jack Conway and his Departments of Special Prosecutions and Criminal Investigations have announced that a former Northern Kentucky University (NKU) Athletic Director has been sentenced to prison.
Scott William Eaton was sentenced to 10 years in prison for stealing more than $300,000 from the university over a six-year period. Campbell Circuit Court Judge Julie Reinhardt Ward sentenced Eaton in accordance with a plea agreement he reached with the Office of the Attorney General last month. Eaton was also ordered to pay NKU $311,215 in restitution. Eaton was taken into custody this last week to begin serving his sentence. He has agreed not to ask the court for shock probation.
“Scott Eaton used his position to defraud and take advantage of Northern Kentucky University at a time when higher education institutions are being asked to accomplish more with less,” Attorney General Conway said. “I appreciate the hard work of my investigators and prosecutors who brought this case to a successful close, and I am pleased that Mr. Eaton is accepting responsibility for his actions and that his sentence includes restitution to NKU.”
Eaton, 50, of Ft. Thomas, Ky., was charged in April by Criminal Information in Campbell Circuit Court with one count of theft by unlawful taking between $10,000 and $1 million for stealing $311,215 from NKU from Jan. 2007 to March 2013. Eaton pleaded guilty, agreed to serve the maximum term of 10 years in prison, and pay restitution to NKU. He will also have to pay the mandatory felony fine of $1,000 and court costs.
Last year, NKU President Geoffrey Mearns terminated Eaton’s employment as NKU’s Athletic Director when Mearns discovered Eaton had engaged in inappropriate relationships with employees and a student. NKU retained an external firm to audit athletic department accounts under Eaton’s control. The audit confirmed suspicions that Eaton had also stolen funds from NKU.
Eaton stole the funds by defrauding NKU utilizing several different schemes. First, he used his NKU-issued credit card to purchase Kroger gift cards. He then utilized those gift cards to purchase items for his own personal use. This amount totaled $262,106. Additionally, he purchased items for his own personal use on his NKU credit card. This amount totaled $32,919. Furthermore, he used NKU resources to print and charge postage for items for the Massachusetts Basketball Coaches Association (MBCA), of which he was a member. When he sought and received reimbursement for these costs from MBCA, he kept the money for his own personal use instead of returning it to NKU. This amount totaled $16,190. In all, the defendant took $311,215 from NKU.
This case was investigated by General Conway’s Department of Criminal Investigations. The prosecution of this case was handled by General Conway’s Office of Special Prosecutions, with the assistance of Campbell County Commonwealth’s Attorney Michelle Snodgrass.