Crime

Bookkeeper, her husband, shop manager charged with taking $2.5 million

Clark Machine Tool & Die on Shun Pike in Nicholasville advertises itself with this sign.
Clark Machine Tool & Die on Shun Pike in Nicholasville advertises itself with this sign. gkocher1@herald-leader.com

Three Nicholasville residents defrauded $2.5 million from their Jessamine County employer over a 16-year period, a federal grand jury charged Thursday.

Joyce Minton, 65, her husband, James Minton, 70, and her son, Aaron Brooke Warren, 43, were indicted on charges of bank fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. The three already face multiple theft charges in a Jessamine County indictment.

The three were employed by Clark Machine Tool & Die, a Nicholasville company incorporated in 1974 to make customized equipment for industrial needs. Joyce Minton was the office manager and bookkeeper; Jimmy Minton was a contractor; and Warren was the shop manager, according to the 88-count federal indictment.

The indictment says the three “aided and abetted each other” in a “scheme to defraud and obtain money” from the company operated by Ray Clark, his wife, Sue, and son Danny.

The indictment says Joyce Minton “issued herself inflated paychecks, additional paychecks, inflated monthly bonus checks, and additional bonus checks” as well as issuing “inflated monthly bonus checks” to Warren.

In addition, Warren “collected money from customers and personally kept money” for work performed by the company, the indictment says. Joyce Minton “was aware of and aided this deception,” the indictment says.

Warren and Joyce Minton also “made and kept personal purchases using money, checks and a credit card” from the company, then concealed the purchases by recording them as business expenses, the indictment says.

Joyce Minton also “improperly wrote, cashed and kept petty cash checks” from the company’s bank account.

The investigation began when the company noticed that multiple checks had been written and cashed by Joyce Minton, but the money was unaccounted for and never returned to the business.

Joyce Minton and Warren were arrested and charged in July by Kentucky State Police. They were later released on bond and were indicted in August by a Jessamine County grand jury on multiple theft charges.

In court records filed in Jessamine County, prosecutors say they can trace the money diverted from Clark Machine Tool & Die to the purchase of a motor home, a dragster, a drag racing engine and components, a 34-foot trailer, a 1967 Chevy Camaro, pressure washers, racing parts, golf clubs, electronics. tools and guns. Some of those purchases are also listed in the federal indictment.

For each charge listed in the federal indictment, the Mintons and Warren face between 10 and 30 years in prison, fines of between $250,000 and $1 million, forfeiture of property and restitution, if applicable.

The Mintons and Warren are scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 23 before U.S. District Court Judge Joseph M. Hood.

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