Sheriff Lawrence Hodge
Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence Hodge has stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars in public money during his two terms in office, a local grand jury has charged.
The grand jury indicted Hodge on Monday on 18 charges of abuse of public trust and three counts of tampering with physical evidence — all felonies.
Most of the charges allege Hodge took money from accounts at his office, though some allege that he sold or gave away guns that had been seized in investigations.
The charges of tampering with evidence allege that he failed to properly safeguard guns, knives or drugs that had been seized.
Hodge began taking money his first year in office, in 2003, the grand jury charged.
“It started pretty quick, based upon what the grand jury saw,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Allen Trimble said Monday.
There was at least one charge alleging theft for every year Hodge has been in office.
The amount of money involved in the alleged thefts totaled about $350,000, Trimble said.
The most serious charges in the indictment are Class C felonies, punishable by five to 10 years in prison.
Hodge might be facing other problems as well. He also is under federal investigation, according to a report issued by the grand jury that indicted him.
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