Prestonsburg agency chief pleads guilty to stealing from fund to assist the disabled

A former regional director at the Mountain Comprehensive Care Center in Prestonsburg has pleaded guilty to charges of defrauding a government-financed assistance program, Attorney General Jack Conway said.

Kathy Jo Ryan, 49, received a probated five-year prison sentence and was ordered to pay almost $65,000 in restitution after pleading guilty Friday in Franklin Circuit Court, Conway's office announced Monday.

Ryan must pay the restitution within 90 days, according to Conway's office.

The case grew out of an inquiry by Conway's Public Integrity/Special Investigations Branch and the Kentucky Office of the Inspector General.

According to state officials, Ryan allegedly forged doctors' notes and information on applications for the Hart-Supported Living grant program in November 2012. Ryan then used money from the program to pay for renovations to her home, authorities alleged.

The Hart-Supported program enables Kentuckians with disabilities to live in homes of their choice.

"Ms. Ryan used her position to take advantage of a state-funded program that many citizens rely on," Conway said in a statement. "I'm pleased that she is accepting responsibility for her actions and that her sentence includes restitution."