Former Lafayette County Treasurer/Tax Collector Sentenced to 24 Months for Embezzlement of Public Funds
TEXARKANA, AR—Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that Keesha Rose, age 37, of Lewisville, Arkansas, was sentenced today to 24 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Theft Concerning Programs Receiving Federal Funds. Rose served as the County Treasurer and Tax Collector for Lafayette County. She was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $282,036.97. The Honorable Harry F. Barnes presided over the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court in Texarkana.
U.S. Attorney Eldridge stated, “The conduct by this public official is shameful and a disgrace to all other public officials who are dedicated to the service to which they have been elected; such an abuse of public trust is offensive to other honest elected officers that are loyal to their positions. We remain committed to investigating and prosecuting those who embezzle public funds throughout the Western District of Arkansas.”
“Arkansas deserves and is blessed with so many public servants who do the right things for the right reasons. However, corrupt public officials erode the trust necessary for our democracy to function,” stated Special Agent in Charge David T. Resch with the Little Rock FBI, “We appreciate our partnership with the United States Attorney’s Office and the Arkansas State Police as we continue to confront public corruption as a top priority in Arkansas.”
According to court records, Keesha Rose was elected as Treasurer and Tax Collector for Lafayette County, Arkansas in November, 2010 and was responsible for collection and administration of all funds collected and disbursed on behalf of Lafayette County. Lafayette County received benefits in excess of $10,000 under a Federal program for the both 2011 and 2012. On May 31, 2013, The Arkansas Division of Legislative Audit reported that a comparison of cash receipts to cash bank deposits revealed that $162,275.00 was not deposited in the county’s bank accounts by Rose for a period of January 1, 2011 through September 20, 2012. The auditors noted numerous issues with accounting processes and recordkeeping that were consistent with the embezzlement of funds. In addition to the $162,275.00, auditors determined that for the time period between September 20, 2012 and November 7, 2013, an additional $81,618 in public funds was embezzled by Rose, bringing the total amount known prior Ms. Rose’s change of plea to $243,893.00. Rose pleaded guilty to the charge on October 29, 2014.Subsequent to Ms. Rose’s change of plea, auditors determined that for the time period between November 7, 2013 and April 30, 2014, and additional $38,143.97 in public funds was also embezzled, bringing the total amount of embezzled funds to $282,036.97.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Arkansas State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Ross prosecuted the case for the United States.