Admitted to obtaining $450,000 in unauthorized loans for the county and then concealing the proceeds from the Fiscal Court; also personally received at least $27,000 in fraudulent medical reimbursement payments.
PADUCAH, Ky. – United States Attorney John E. Kuhn, Jr., announced a guilty plea by the former Treasurer of Ballard County, Kentucky, for participating in a scheme that involved obtaining approximately $450,000 in bank loans using a $500,000 Ballard County Certificate of Deposit as collateral, all without authorization from the Ballard County Fiscal Court; guilty pleas were also entered due to her theft of at least $27,000 in fraudulent medical reimbursement payments while employed as the County’s treasurer.
Belinda Janean Foster, 50, pled guilty today in United States District Court, before Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell, to all five of her charges stemming from a November 15, 2016, grand jury indictment that included a single count of bank fraud and four counts of wire fraud.
According to the plea agreement, Foster admitted that she intended to deceive the Ballard County Fiscal Court about the loans by intentionally not making it aware of the loans and concealing the proceeds of the loans.
Beginning sometime in April of 2014, Foster, then employed as Ballard County Treasurer, told her supervisor, Ballard County Judge Executive Vickie Viniard, that Ballard County needed funds in the county operating account in order to cover expenses and payroll. According to Foster, Viniard stated that she would obtain a loan until the county road funds were received.
In April 2014, Viniard subsequently secured a $300,000 loan from First Community Bank in Wickliffe, Kentucky, using a Ballard County Certificate of Deposit valued at approximately $500,000 as collateral. In June 2014, Viniard and Foster obtained another loan, as co-signers, again from First Community Bank in the amount of $150,000 and again used the same CD as collateral.
After receiving the funds from the two loans, Foster was required, by Kentucky Statute, to account for this income on the Ballard County financial and accounting records and report these loans to the Kentucky Department for Local Government. However, Foster, in order to conceal the loans, and at the direction of Viniard, never reported these loans to the state government and intentionally labeled $350,000 from the loans as “payroll tax” instead of accounting for the income as loan proceeds while wiring the remaining $100,000 across interstate lines from First Community Bank in Wickliffe, Kentucky to Huntington National Bank in Columbus, Ohio – not accounting for that amount at all.
Prior to obtaining the two loans, neither Viniard or Foster ever made the Ballard County Fiscal Court aware of these loans nor did Viniard or Foster make the Ballard County Fiscal Court aware that a $500,000 CD was pledged as collateral for the loans. Furthermore, neither Viniard or Foster informed First Community Bank that Viniard had not requested or obtained authority from the Ballard County Fiscal Court to apply for the loans.
In addition to the fraudulent loans listed above, Foster admitted to regularly writing herself checks for fraudulent medical reimbursement payments to which she knew she was not entitled. These fraudulent medical reimbursement payments totaled at least $27,000.
If convicted at trial, Foster could have been sentenced to a combined maximum prison term of 110 years, ordered to pay a fine of $2,000,000 and serve a five-year term of supervised release. Foster is scheduled for sentencing before Senior Judge Russell in Paducah, on April 21, 2017.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nute Bonner and is being investigated by the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).