Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Attorney General Conway Announces Guilty Plea of Owsley County Clerk to Charges of Tax Evasion, Abuse of Public Trust

Attorney General Jack Conway today announced the guilty plea of Owsley County Clerk Sid Gabbard on charges of tax evasion and abuse of public trust. Gabbard entered a guilty plea on Friday, April 26, 2013 in Franklin Circuit Court to three counts of abuse of public trust and three counts of willfully filing or making false tax returns, and/or failure to pay tax. The plea agreement also requires Gabbard to resign immediately as Owsley County Clerk and pay $61,118 in restitution to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

The charges against Gabbard are the result of an investigation by General Conway's Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Department of Revenue's Division of Special Investigations. The Attorney General's Office launched its investigation of Gabbard in January of 2013 based on a 2010 audit report released in June of 2012 by the Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts.

"The citizens of Owsley County elected Sid Gabbard to represent them with honesty and integrity," General Conway said. "Mr. Gabbard betrayed that public trust. He treated public funds as his own at a time when communities across the Commonwealth have struggled to fund vital programs and protect services. I am pleased that the plea agreement calls for Mr. Gabbard's immediate resignation and payment of more than $61,000 in restitution and back taxes."

The Attorney General's investigation revealed that Gabbard withheld state income tax from employees' checks, but instead of sending the money to the state he used it as his own. Prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office of Franklin County Commonwealth's Attorney Larry Cleveland.

The tax evasion charges were brought forth by the Department of Revenue's Division of Special Investigations, which identifies and investigates state tax crimes and prepares cases for prosecution. Using information sources ranging from anonymous tips to collaboration with law enforcement agencies the division investigates cases including income tax evasion, fraudulent tax refunds and theft of sales, use and withholding taxes.