Attorney General: Ex-Lee County Circuit Clerk Sentenced, Fined

FRANKFORT, KY. (April 25, 2016) – On Monday, April 25, 2016, Attorney General Andy Beshear announced that Emma Adams, former Lee County Circuit Clerk, was sentenced last week in Franklin Circuit Court after pleading guilty in February to abuse of public trust.

Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd sentenced Adams Friday, April 22, to five years’ probation and 180 days of home incarceration. As part of sentencing, Shepherd imposed a fine of nearly $335,000.

Adams also must pay the remaining balance of restitution, which is nearly $79,000. She paid $156,000 in restitution in February when she pled guilty. Adams will pay $2,500 in restitution monthly.

“Kentuckians have a right to expect that elected officials follow the law,” Beshear said. “When leaders abuse their office and break the public’s trust, our office is here to hold them accountable.”

Adams unlawfully obtained more than $100,000 in public money or property from funds that were administered through the Administrative Offices of the Court (AOC).

With assistance from AOC auditors, the Office of the Attorney General’s Department of Criminal Investigations began investigating Adams.

The investigation traced and verified a total of $334,845.44 in missing state funds from 2006 until mid-year 2015. Nearly $78,738.97 of the missing funds was from circuit civil filing fees, which was administered solely by Adams.

The remaining $256,106.47 was traced to missing bank deposits. Those funds represent money the circuit clerks are required to take in and hold in trust on behalf of others such as bail bonds and restitution payments.

The Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Unit prosecuted the case. Adams admitted to taking the money for her own personal use and pled guilty to abuse of public trust, a class D felony.

“I want to thank the AOC auditors and the members of my Department of Criminal Investigations and Special Prosecutions Unit for handling this case,” Beshear said.



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