FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KFTA) — Farmington’s former court clerk and finance director was sentenced to prison for fraud and embezzlement.
James Lewis “Jimmy” Story, 57, was sentenced Wednesday to 46 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,282,966 in restitution to the City of Farmington and $371,956 in restitution to the IRS on one count of theft concerning programs that receive federal funds and one count of filing a false income tax return, according to a news release issued by Duane Kees, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas.
Story was sentenced in United States District Court in Fayetteville.
Story worked as the district court clerk from 1995 to 2016 for the City of Farmington.
“Starting in at least January 2009, Story was the sole employee responsible for preparing and making deposits, reviewing bank statements and performing reconciliations, entering receipt information in the District Court’s case management system and posting transactions to the financial accounting system,” Kees said.
District Court offenders paid fines at the Farmington Court Clerk’s Office. Those fines were given to Story for data entry into the system and for deposit into the District Court bank account.
“Beginning in or about January 2009, Story made five types of fraudulent adjustments in the system to reduce the monetary balance due from defendants and conceal the funds not deposited. As the only employee with authorized security access to the system, Story used the fraudulent adjustments to fabricate reasons that fines, costs and fees collected were not entered into the System,” Kees said.
Story’s fraudulent adjustments included adjustments indicating that a district court judge dismissed the fines, fees and costs owed by the offenders, adjustments that community service was served in lieu of payment of fines, fees and costs, administrative activity adjustments, deleted or voided cases and deletion of court automation fees.
“During the course of the investigation, agents identified individuals who paid their fines in cash and whose records were changed in the system to indicate that there was no court-ordered fine,” Kees said. “In each case, Story altered the records, stole the cash and used it for his own personal benefit.”
Story pleaded guilty in November 2017.
The investigation into Story’s crimes was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, IRS Criminal Investigations and the Arkansas Legislative Audit.