Former LaRue County Sheriff Bobby Shoffner pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on Thursday to embezzling county money, U.S. Attorney John E. Kuhn, Jr., announced.
“When any elected official uses public office for self-enrichment, we are all harmed,” Kuhn said. “But when that elected official is a law enforcement officer, the theft is doubly shameful. Shoffner’s actions erode our faith in those honorable men and women of law enforcement who take their oath to uphold and enforce the law as a solemn and inviolate obligation. Thankfully, his greed and selfishness make him a rare outlier in the ranks of the valiant and dedicated law enforcement personnel who serve all throughout Kentucky.”
Shoffner, 58, of Hodgenville was the LaRue County Sheriff in 2011 and 2012 and was responsible for collecting and remitting franchise tax payments and property tax payments. Shoffner admitted that between November 2011 and April 2012, he embezzled $21,901 in property tax receipts.
Shoffner was also responsible for collecting penalties on payments. Between 2011 and 2012, Shoffner accepted $1,138 in penalty payments from LaRue citizens, waived those payments in the computer system, and kept the payments for his own personal use.
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As sheriff, Shoffner was provided a credit card for official business use. Through 2012, Shoffner used the credit card to pay for $3,200 in personal expenses, including DirectTV, golf shoes, and Abercrombie & Fitch.
In 2011, Shoffner hired a relative to work in the office. Although a previous employee was paid $12 per hour for part-time work, Shoffner’s relative was hired at full time and paid over $30,000 per year. That relative did not work full time, and often was not in the office, resulting in a loss of $10,000. After Shoffner’s relative left the job, a new part-time employee was hired at $12/hour.
Shoffner’s conviction carries a maximum five-year prison term, a maximum fine of $250,000, and a maximum of three years of supervised release.
In court on June 22, Shoffner agreed to pay $36,239 in restitution to LaRue County and pay a $1,000 fine at the time of sentencing. Sentencing is scheduled before Judge Hale at 10 a.m. Sept. 21 in Louisville.