Elliott County clerk, deputy charged; audit says $15,000 missing

Blevins Lexington

Elliott County Clerk Sheila Blevins has been indicted after an audit indicated $15,680 in deposits missing from her office, Attorney General Andy Beshear announced Thursday.

Blevins and her sister Jeannie Moore, who works in Blevins’ office as a deputy clerk, were charged with complicity to commit abuse of public trust involving less than $10,000, Beshear said.

The charge is a Class D felony punishable by one to five years in prison. The two were indicted in Franklin County.

Blevins, who has been clerk since 2009, said in an interview Thursday that there was no money stolen from her office and that none is missing.

“Anything that was a deficit, it’s been taken care of,” Blevins said. “It’s all caught up and everything.”

Blevins said she doesn’t anticipate being convicted.

Beshear’s office began investigating after Auditor Mike Harmon’s office found that four deposits weren’t in a clerk’s account.

The audit, which covered 2014, was released in March.

It said that receipts from three days in May 2014 and one day in August 2014 weren’t deposited into the 2014 fee account of Blevins’ office. The total was $15,680.

County clerks in Kentucky collect a variety of fees, such as vehicle licensing charges.

The audit said Blevins told auditors that a misplaced deposit bag accounted for the missing deposits, and that she deposited the money in February 2015.

But the report said $8,990 of that deposit came from checks the office received in 2015, not in 2014. The rest was in cash, so there was no way to determine whether it came from 2014 or 2015 receipts, the audit said.

Clerks are supposed to keep money from each year separate.

The audit found other accounting problems, including inaccurate ledgers and weak controls over receipts and payments.

The audit said Blevins paid her daughter a total of $8,932 in 2012 and 2013 under a state grant for a contract worker to scan and index records, but she didn’t issue her a Form 1099 as required by law.

Blevins also overspent her budget for salaries for deputy clerks, and she didn’t promptly give the county attorney’s office some bounced checks she’d received, which could hurt efforts to collect on them, the audit said.

In responses included in the audit, Blevins said she was working to improve internal accounting controls and had made other corrections based on the findings.

Blevins and her sister are to be arraigned July 8.