Kentucky leader pleads guilty in kickbacks scheme

August 26, 2014 - 7:05 PM

WEST LIBERTY, Ky. (AP) — The top elected official in an eastern Kentucky county devastated by a deadly 2012 tornado has pleaded guilty to a fraud charge stemming from a kickback scheme.

Morgan County Judge-Executive Tim Conley was accused of receiving kickbacks of $120,000 to $200,000 to steer work to a contractor.

Prosecutors said the scheme began about three years before the tornado destroyed parts of Morgan County and much of downtown West Liberty, the county seat. Prosecutors say Conley continued cashing in as the area struggled to recover.

The twister killed six people in Morgan County, part of an outbreak of tornadoes that killed 25 people statewide.

Conley pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud. As a result, prosecutors dropped other charges.

He faces up to 20 years in prison.