Former Court Clerk’s Sentencing Delayed
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.