Saturday, August 14, 2004

Ex-state official charged with 47 counts of stealing

The Associated Press

FRANKFORT - A former state official who was dismissed in February amid an investigation into alleged embezzlement has been charged with 47 counts of stealing.

Barbara Nash, the former director of the division of administrative services in the Office of Financial Institutions, has been charged with felony and misdemeanor theft charges in court papers filed Tuesday. She was to appear in Franklin Circuit Court next Tuesday.

Nash's firing made headlines when Gov. Ernie Fletcher announced her firing at a news conference in April. Fletcher, who was accompanied by Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet Secretary LaJuana Wilcher, said the matter had been referred to the Kentucky State Police.

At the time, Wilcher claimed Nash used money from her agency to buy things such as crystal candy dishes, decorative prints and clocks and to pay off her personal credit card bills. The alleged embezzlement was identified after a review of her travel reimbursement vouchers, officials said.

According to papers filed in Franklin Circuit Court, Nash is facing 47 felony and misdemeanor theft charges for allegedly stealing a combined total of nearly $60,000. About $13,000 of that was allegedly taken from the Kentucky Women's Leadership Network, according to court records.

Larry Roberts, Nash's attorney, declined to comment.

Nash spent much of her career in state government including stints in the state treasurer's office and the Revenue Cabinet. In 1995, she finished fourth in the Democratic primary for state treasurer.

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