Paintsville Mayor Robert Porter has been found guilty of misappropriating property and city resources.
A federal jury in London, Ky., convicted Porter on 2 of the three counts of theft of federal funds and one count of bribery. The jury returned the verdict after more than three hours of deliberation, following four days of trial.
One of Porter’s co-defendants, Larry Herald, the former general manager of the Paintsville Utilities Commission, previously pleaded guilty to lying to an FBI agent about his knowledge of Porter’s delinquent utility bills.
Evidence presented at the trial established that, from 2009 until 2012, Porter, with the knowledge, approval and assistance of Herald, did not pay for utilities services provided to residences that he owned in Paintsville. The total delinquency was in excess of $7,000. The evidence also revealed that Porter used thousands of dollars in city and federal funds to pay for personal expenses, such as: maintenance and repairs on his personal automobiles, gasoline for personal trips, and shipping fees for personal items. Evidence at the trial also established that Porter used a city owned vehicle, seized from a drug investigation by the Paintsville Police Department, for personal trips.
Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Howard S. Marshall, Special Agent in Charge, FBI, and Richard W. Sanders, Kentucky State Police Commissioner, jointly made the announcement.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI and the Kentucky State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ken Taylor and Andrew Boone are prosecuting this case on behalf of the federal government. Porter is scheduled to be sentenced on January 12. Misappropriating federal property and bribery of a public official each carries a maximum penalty of 10 years and making false statements to a federal agent carries a maximum penalty of five years. However, any sentence following a conviction will be imposed after the Court carefully considers the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statutes.