May 13, 2011.pdf
By Carl Keith Greene/Staff Writer
Deputy U.S. Marshals handcuffed and removed what former Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence Hodge had in his pockets before they led him from a federal courtroom in London Thursday.
Hodge, 51, had pleaded guilty to three counts in an information issued by the U.S. Attorney’s office.
In a plea agreement, Hodge admitted extorting money, distributing drugs and laundering money.
It suggests a sentence of 15 years and six months, and $50,000 restitution.
Sentencing by Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove is set for 2:30 p.m. Aug. 25.
The information, filed Thursday, charges in the first count that between June 2004 and July 2, 2007, Hodge conspired to “obstruct, delay and affect ... commerce in the movement of articles and commodities in commerce by extortion.”
The 10-page plea agreement states that during that period, Hodge conspired with a Williamsburg criminal defense lawyer to extort funds from criminal defendants.
He admitted on three occasions that he encouraged criminal defendants to seek lawyer Ron Reynolds for representation and Reynolds suggested to his clients that they make donations to the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department.
Reynolds charged the three defendants $160,000, $72,000 and $25,000, totalling $257,000 to represent them in court.
Reynolds paid Hodge at least $50,000 for the referrals.
Reynolds pleaded guilty in March to charges for his roll in the extortion plan.
The second count of the information charges that beginning in 2003 and continuing through the year 2010, Hodge was a user of controlled substances without proper prescriptions.
He got illegal prescription pills from drug traffickers in the area during that time.
Because they provided him the drugs he allowed them to operate in the county.
The third count charges that he conspired with a former clerk/bookkeeper of the sheriff’s office.
The plea agreement states that from Jan. 1, 2003 and July 2008, Hodge and the clerk/bookkeeper embezzled and laundered a total of about $64,897.
The maximum penalty for count one is 20 years, a $250,000 fine and three years supervised release.
Count two’s maximum penalty is 20 years, a $1 million fine and at least three years supervised release and count three’s maximum penalty is also 20 years, a $500,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
Hodge also faces state charges in Whitley County Circuit Court and a pretrial conference is set for Tuesday.
Whitley County Commonwealth’s Attorney Allen Trimble couldn’t be reached for comment.
An information is a document charging crimes issued by U.S. Attorney offices in lieu of an indictment which must be returned by a grand jury.
Admits to extorting money, laundering money, distributing drugs. Sentence of over 15 years suggested.
May 13, 2011.pdf
- Whitley County Sheriff Investigation
Fritts handed 15-year sentence
“You didn’t say ‘no.’” That’s what U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove told Doyle “Stan Boy” Fritts Thursday, who was found guilty in February of several charges related to a conspiracy to distribute oxycodone with his brothers.
Fritts sentenced to 15 years
Doyle "Stan Boy" Fritts, found guilty in February of several charges related to a conspiracy to distribute oxycodone with his brothers, received a 15-year sentence today from U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove.
Whitley Sheriff’s Office receives good audit
Whitley County Sheriff Colan Harrell received a good report from the Kentucky state auditor’s office Thursday.
2012 Whitley Sheriff's Audit.pdf
911 director not indicted in Lawrence Hodge case
A Whitley County Grand jury did not indict Whitley County 911 Director Chuck Davis on a charge related to missing money when Davis worked as a detective under former sheriff Lawrence Hodge.
Whitley Grand Jury hears evidence on 911 Director
The Whitley County Grand Jury heard evidence concerning 911 Director Chuck Davis during its meeting on Sept. 5, but continued the case to be investigated further, according to court documents.
Audit of former sheriff Hodge’s office released
An audit of former Whitley County sheriff Lawrence Hodge’s 2010 tax settlement account has been released by Kentucky State Auditor Adam Edelen.
Hodge pretrial conference postponed
A pre-trial conference set for Monday for former Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence Hodge has been postponed due to concerns of the Kentucky Bureau of Prisons, according to Commonwealth’s Attorney Allen Trimble.
‘60 Minutes’ to feature former Times-Tribune editor, reporter
A “60 Minutes” interview with a former Times-Tribune managing editor and a former reporter who helped uncover corruption in former Whitley County sheriff Lawrence Hodge’s office is set to air Sunday.
Meradith sentenced for Hodge drug ring
April 14, 2012.pdf
James Meradith was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove Friday morning to two years and nine months. On Dec. 29, 2011, he pleaded guilty on one count of an indictment.
Fritts gets seven years, three months in prison
Charles F. Fritts Jr. was sentenced to seven years and three months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove Wednesday afternoon.
- More Whitley County Sheriff Investigation Headlines
- Fritts handed 15-year sentence