Former Morgan County Judge-Executive Sentenced to 87 Months in Kickback Scheme
FRANKFORT, KY—Timothy Alexander Conley, the former Morgan County Judge-Executive, was sentenced today to 87 months in federal prison for soliciting and accepting over a hundred thousand dollars in illegal kickbacks from a bridge contractor.
U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove sentenced Conley for honest services mail fraud and ordered him to pay $130,000 in restitution. Judge Van Tatehnove ordered that Conley pay $104,000 to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and $26,000 to Morgan County. Under federal law, Conley will have to serve at least 85 percent of his prison sentence.
“Mr. Conley’s reprehensible scheme betrayed the trust placed in him by the people of Morgan County,” said Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “He transformed his high public office into a criminal enterprise designed to line his pockets, at the expense of the citizens who elected him. The sentence imposed is an appropriate punishment for a man who so thoroughly abused the public trust, at a time when his community most needed honest leadership. Our office and our law enforcement partners will continue to use every tool available to fight public corruption in our district.”
Conley admitted at his guilty plea in August 2014 that, between early 2009 through August 2013, he rigged the county’s competitive bidding process to ensure that contracts for certain Morgan County bridges were awarded to PBTHNOJJ Construction, a Salyersville, Ky., bridge contractor owned by Kenneth and Ruth Gambill. Conley admitted that, as part of that scheme, he directed Kenneth Gambill to deliver kickbacks to him from the proceeds of PBTHNOJJ Construction’s bridge contracts. For example, in 2013, Conley secretly altered bid documents for three bridges to ensure that PBTHNOJJ Construction would receive the contract to build each bridge. Conley solicited $15,000 per bridge and accepted $45,000 in cash from Kenneth Gambill for the three bridges.
According to the plea agreement, these kickbacks were part of a scheme to defraud the citizens of Morgan County of their right to Conley’s honest services.
Kenneth and Ruth Gambill have each pleaded guilty and have been sentenced for conspiring to launder the proceeds of Conley’s kickback scheme.
Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky; Howard Marshall, Special Agent in Charge, FBI; and Jack Conway, Kentucky Attorney General, jointly announced the sentence today.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI and the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew T. Boone and trial attorney Jennifer Blackwell with the Public Integrity Section of the United States Department of Justice.