For­mer Court Clerk’s Sen­tenc­ing De­layed

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - NEWS - By Lynn Kutter

FARM­ING­TON — A hear­ing to sen­tence the city’s for­mer district court clerk and fi­nance di­rec­tor, who pleaded guilty to em­bez­zle­ment of govern­ment funds and tax fraud, has been con­tin­ued once again, ac­cord­ing to records in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas.

Jimmy Story of Fayet­teville pleaded guilty in fed­eral court on Nov. 27, 2017, to one count of theft con­cern­ing pro­grams that re­ceive fed­eral funds and one count of fil­ing a false in­come tax re­turn.

Since that date, Story has been al­lowed to re­main free on a $5,000 bond while he awaits sen­tenc­ing.

Story is ac­cused of em­bez­zling $1.5 mil­lion over a pe­riod of eight years while work­ing for the city of Farm­ing­ton.

Story orig­i­nally was sched­uled for sen­tenc­ing April 30. His at­tor­ney, Kim­berly R. We­ber, asked the court for a new date in a mo­tion filed March 19.

We­ber ex­plained that she was in­volved in two lengthy trial cases and needed more time to ad­dress the “thou­sands upon thou­sands of pages of dis­cov­ery” in Story’s case.

U.S. Judge Ti­mothy Brooks post­poned the sen­tenc­ing un­til June 7.

We­ber filed an­other mo­tion for con­tin­u­ance of the sen­tenc­ing on May 22. The mo­tion says the de­fen­dant “is still go­ing through these doc­u­ments to pre­pare his de­fense at sen­tenc­ing.”

To pre­pare for sen­tenc­ing, much time will be re­quired, the mo­tion states. The mo­tion also says the re­quest for a con­tin­u­ance is in “good faith” and “not for the pur­poses of de­lay.”

The new date for Story’s sen­tenc­ing is July 11.

Story faces a max­i­mum penalty of 10 years im­pris­on­ment and a max­i­mum fine of $250,000 on the theft charge. On Count 2, max­i­mum im­pris­on­ment is three years and max­i­mum fine is $100,000. The sen­tence also can in­clude resti­tu­tion, as or­dered by the judge.

Story be­gan work­ing for the city of Farm­ing­ton in 1995. He re­signed Dec. 5, 2016.

City staff dis­cov­ered dis­crep­an­cies in rev­enues and de­posits af­ter Story’s res­ig­na­tion and turned over in­for­ma­tion to the county pros­e­cut­ing at­tor­ney’s of­fice, which then brought in the FBI and Arkansas Leg­isla­tive Au­dit.

A leg­isla­tive au­dit re­port is­sued Oct. 13, 2017, showed Story mis­ap­pro­pri­ated more than $1.57 mil­lion over an eight-year pe­riod from Jan. 1, 2009, to Dec. 6, 2016. Al­most all the money, $1.53 mil­lion in rev­enues, was miss­ing from fines, costs and fees for District Court. An­other $43,629 of rev­enue was not de­posited into the city’s gen­eral fund dur­ing the same pe­riod.

The U.S. At­tor­ney’s of­fice is­sued a news re­lease Nov. 27 af­ter Story pleaded guilty to the charges.

The news re­lease stated that Story made five types of fraud­u­lent ad­just­ments in the district court’s man­age­ment sys­tem to re­duce the money bal­ance due from de­fen­dants and con­ceal the funds not de­posited.

“In each case, Story altered the records, stole the cash, and used it for his own per­sonal ben­e­fit,” the news re­lease said.

Leg­isla­tive au­di­tors found that Story made more than 14,000 il­le­gal ad­just­ments to fab­ri­cate rea­sons that fines, costs and fees col­lected were not en­tered into the sys­tem.


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