FRANKFORT — A former Franklin County narcotics officer accused of stealing cash, jewelry and gift cards from drug dealers was sentenced Monday to a year and four months in prison.
U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove also sentenced Matthew Christian Brown, 32, to spend two months in home incarceration and perform 330 hours of community service after he leaves prison.
Brown also must pay $17,840 in restitution. Of that, $9,900 goes to the Franklin County Sheriff's Office and more than $7,800 to a diamond brokerage in Chicago, according to court records and information from the sentencing hearing.
Van Tatenhove sentenced Brown in federal court in Frankfort.
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Brown must serve at least 85 percent of his prison sentence because there is no parole in the federal system. Brown already has served nearly five months since Van Tatenhove revoked his bond last year for violations.
Brown, of Owen County, worked as a deputy for the Franklin County Sheriff's Office from March 2007 until December 2012, and was the department's sole full-time drug detective the last two years of that time, according to court records.
The indictment said Brown took cash, jewelry and gift cards while searching the homes of alleged drug dealers, logging in some items as evidence but keeping others.
In August 2012, for instance, Brown confiscated drugs, guns and about $32,000 in cash during a search, but logged only the drugs, guns and $18,000 as evidence, keeping $14,000 for himself, according to the indictment.
In an instance in May 2012, Brown allegedly seized drugs and guns during the search of a suspected drug dealer, as well as a ring valued at more than $11,000 and a watch worth $2,970.
Brown kept the watch but sold the ring back to the suspect for $800 and kept the money, the indictment said.
Brown was indicted on charges of stealing from the sheriff's office; illegally distributing anabolic steroids in Franklin, Fayette and Jessamine counties; wire fraud; and lying to the FBI.
The wire-fraud charges related to a company he had called H&B Diamond Broker.
Brown allegedly deceived companies that provided diamonds to him on credit and lied to investors in the business, using money he received for personal purchases. The business ultimately failed.
Brown pleaded guilty to one charge of stealing from the sheriff's office.
Brown's attorneys, David Guarnieri and Jaron P. Blandford, asked Van Tatenhove to consider a longer period of home confinement for Brown as an alternative to prison, arguing he had suffered the loss of his livelihood and reputation.
They said Brown had taken a significant amount of drugs, guns and criminals off the street through his work.
"Matt was more than someone who abused his position — he did good work for the citizens of Franklin County," Brown's attorneys said in a motion.
But the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Hydee R. Hawkins, pushed for at least 16 months in prison for Brown, arguing his crime had shamed the sheriff's office and wrongly tainted the credibility of police.
"Mr. Brown committed a very serious offense," Hawkins said in court.
Hawkins also said in a court document that while Brown was on bond, he allegedly got a company to finance construction of small cabins Brown said he was having built for customers, then kept the money. Brown allegedly used false information — including fake names — on the contracts he gave the finance company.
Around the same time he allegedly was misappropriating $70,000, Brown spent nearly $10,000 on veneers for his teeth and more than $7,700 on a swimming pool at his house, according to Hawkins' motion.
Hawkins said Brown also will be charged in state court.