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Former Vicco mayor pleads

The former mayor of Vicco in Perry County, and his son, a former city commissioner, have each entered Alford pleas to first-degree official misconduct, a misdemeanor.

Perry Circuit Judge William Engle sentenced Gary Ward, the former mayor, and his son, Harry, to 12 months in the county jail. Engle probated both sentences for 24 months or until the men have paid restitution. The elder Ward must repay $17,248 and his son must repay $10,750, according to a release issued by Attorney General Jack Conway's office.

At the request of local officials, Harry Ward resigned from the Vicco City Commission, according to the release.

The Alford pleas mean that both men acknowledged that there was enough evidence for a jury to convict them even though they did not admit guilt.

The Office of the Attorney General began investigating the Wards in 2004 at the request of Kentucky State Police. The news release says police received a complaint from a local bank involving unauthorized transfers from city accounts. Investigators discovered that while in office, both Harry and Gary Ward had been using city money for their own benefit. Gary Ward also had falsified bills to the Vicco city attorney and wrote several hundred dollars in cold checks into the city's petty cash fund.