Former Laurel County official sentenced to prison in federal fraud case

A former emergency manager in Laurel County was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $241,000 in restitution in a federal fraud case, according to U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey's office.

Brian Reams fraudulently steered a federal contract to a woman he was dating in 2006 and later married, according to court documents.

The woman, Melody Vess Reams, also pleaded guilty. She received three years' probation and was ordered to repay the government $215,134.

The fraud involved federal money that several Kentucky counties received to prepare for a potential leak from the chemical-weapons storage site in Madison County.

Brian Reams rigged the bid process to help his girlfriend's company, which then supplied equipment such as trailers and generators that were not as good as the contract specified, according to court documents.