Retired Fulton County Jailer Sentenced to 87 Months in Prison for Receiving Kickbacks Tied to 3.3 Million Construction Project on Fulton County Detention Center
Ricky Parnell and co-defendants responsible for $154,000 restitution
PADUCAH, Ky. – Retired Fulton County Jailer Ricky Parnell was sentenced today in United States District Court by Senior Judge Thomas B. Russell, to serve 87 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy to the defraud Fulton County, Kentucky, citizens through kickbacks and inflated costs associated with the $3.3 million 2015 Fulton County Detention Center expansion, announced United States Attorney John E. Kuhn, Jr. There is no parole in the federal prison system.
“Public corruption simply cannot be tolerated,” stated United States Attorney John Kuhn. “Corrupt public officials erode the fairness and integrity of our public institutions, and they undermine the public’s trust in our government. I hope this conviction and ordered for restitution will reassure the public that the Department of Justice will hold elected officials to the highest standards of honesty and integrity – and that we will seek repayment of every tax dollar spent corruptly by public officials,” stated U.S. Attorney Kuhn. “Further, today’s sentencing should assist in restoring the community’s trust in the fairness and integrity of our public institutions.”
Parnell, 59, of Hickman, Kentucky, is jointly and severally liable with the codefendants for the full amount of restitution due totaling $154,000. Co-defendant Michael Homra paid restitution of $32,500 and Danny Larcom paid restitution of $22,000 at the time of their respective sentencing. The remaining $100,000 balance is due by Parnell and co-defendant Ron Armstrong.
Parnell previously pleaded guilty to Honest Services Fraud and multiple counts of Wire Fraud for using his official position to enrich himself by soliciting and accepting gifts and payments from defendant contractors, in exchange for influencing the Fulton County Fiscal Court to award the defendants contracts on the project.
Parnell admitted to directing Ronald D. Armstrong, of Dresden, Tennessee; Jimmy Boyd, of South Fulton, Tennessee; Michael Homra, of Fulton, Kentucky; and Daniel C. Larcom, of Union City, Tennessee, to intentionally overcharge Fulton County for services and supplies provided as part of jail projects. Parnell presented the inflated invoices and contracts to the Fulton County treasurer for payment to the defendants and their respective companies. In turn, the defendant contractors would use the excess proceeds to pay kickbacks, in the form of both cash and checks, to Parnell. Parnell received at least $175,000 in money and other things of value.
In addition, defendants Armstrong, Homra, and Larcom took steps to cover up their activities and dealings with Parnell, including using cash to provide Parnell with kickbacks, structuring withdrawals from banks to use for these kickbacks, and creating false and inflated invoices for services and materials in order to satisfy the cash kickbacks demanded by Parnell.
Contract defendants Larcom, Armstrong and Homra pleaded guilty in United States District Court to charges including Honest Service Wire Fraud and Wire Fraud for their individual roles in this conspiracy. Armstrong was sentenced to 35 months in prison and Larcom and Homra were sentenced to serve 2 years of probation.
The charged activity took place between April 2015 and August 2016. Parnell served as the Fulton County Jailer from 1990 until late last year.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nute Bonner and was investigated by the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).