A Lexington consultant and longtime Democratic Party insider pleaded guilty Wednesday in a federal corruption case that had snared a top state official earlier, admitting he paid kickbacks totaling more than $800,000 to get work for his company.
Sam C. McIntosh, 58, who owned MC Squared Consulting, pleaded guilty to four counts of bribing former state Personnel Cabinet Secretary Tim Longmeyer and one count of mail fraud for sending a corrupt payment through the mail.
The mail-fraud charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, but McIntosh’s sentence will likely be considerably lower under advisory federal guidelines.
In a separate case, Anna Menges, 57, of Louisville, who once worked as marketing director for Baptist Health in Louisville, pleaded guilty to mail fraud.
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Menges admitted she took a $1,250 payment from McIntosh in 2015 to arrange for him to get work from Baptist Health.
Longmeyer, who was secretary under former Gov. Steve Beshear; his friend Larry O’Bryan, a Louisville political consultant; and McIntosh took part in a scheme that involved using the state employee insurance plan to generate cash for them.
Longmeyer, whose cabinet administered the insurance plan, used his influence to get providers Humana and Anthem to hire MC Squared for work such as gauging members’ satisfaction with health plans, and McIntosh kicked back part of the money to Longmeyer and O’Bryan, according to court documents.
McIntosh paid a total of $854,701.50 to O’Bryan and Longmeyer between October 2011 and October 2015, according to his plea agreement.
MC Squared had gotten $1.29 million in payments from Humana.
O’Bryan pleaded guilty last year to being the middleman between McIntosh and Longmeyer, though he left the scheme in 2014. McIntosh began paying Longmeyer directly after that, delivering 39 payments between November 2014 and October 2015, according to court documents and a news release.
Longmeyer pleaded guilty to receiving $203,500 from MC Squared in 2014 and 2015.
Most of that was cash to him, but some was for campaign contributions Longmeyer arranged to the campaigns of Democrats Andy Beshear, elected attorney general in 2015, and Jack Conway, who lost a bid for governor that year.
Federal officials have said Beshear and Conway were not aware of the illegal donations.
Longmeyer worked briefly for Andy Beshear before quitting when he learned he was under investigation.
A whistleblower at MC Squared ultimately told authorities about the kickback scheme, according to court records.
U.S. District Judge Karen. K Caldwell sentenced Longmeyer to 70 months in prison. O’Bryan is to be sentenced next month.
Acting U.S. Attorney Carlton S. Shier IV said after Wednesday’s hearing that federal authorities continue to investigate some aspects of the case.
However, McIntosh is the last “major” player authorities anticipate charging in relation to the scheme involving the state insurance plan, Shier said.
McIntosh and his attorney, James Lowry IV, declined comment as they left the federal courthouse.
Shier said authorities learned of the scheme involving Baptist Health while investigating the larger conspiracy involving Longmeyer, O’Bryan and McIntosh.
McIntosh , a Hazard native, said in court Wednesday that he started MC Squared in 1987. McIntosh and the company had longstanding ties in state Democratic Party politics.
Archived information from the company’s website indicates Grady Stumbo, then head of the Kentucky Democratic Party, hired the company in 1992 as the party’s polling and general consultant. By 2009, McIntosh had been involved in more than 150 political campaigns across the country, according to the archived information.
McIntosh earned degrees at the University of Kentucky in political science and business administration and was a staff assistant to state Sen. Benny Ray Bailey, D-Hindman, in the early 1980s before working on Gov. Martha Layne Collins’ 1983 election campaign.
Later, he was assistant to Edward M. Coleman, Kentucky Democratic Party chairman, where he coordinated polling in political campaigns in 1986 and 1987, and served as liaison to House and Senate leaders, according to information his company once posted.
McIntosh said in court Wednesday that MC Squared is closed. He now supports himself by doing “pop culture sales” on eBay, he said.
Caldwell scheduled sentencing for McIntosh and Menges April 11.