HAZARD — An indictment was returned Friday against a former employee of the Perry County Sheriff’s Office who allegedly stole more than $500,000 in franchise taxes over a four-year period.
Lana Dean, 66, of Hazard, is facing a maximum of 20 years in prison on one count of abuse of the public trust over $100,000, according to the indictment.
A state audit released in 2008 revealed that well over $500,000 had been discovered missing from the tax accounts of the sheriff’s office from 2002 to 2006. The indictment returned on Friday alleges that Dean, who formerly worked in the sheriff’s tax collection office, had stolen approximately $590,000 “in franchise tax collections and appropriated the money for her own personal use.”
Former state auditor Crit Luallen in 2008 called the scheme “one of the largest in the history of the State Auditor’s Office.”
The audit was eventually referred to the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office, where an investigation into the missing money resulted in Friday’s indictment. Greg Wolf with the AG’s investigations unit is listed as the grand jury witness.
The case will now move to Perry Circuit Court, where the prosecution will be handled by Commonwealth’s Attorney Teresa Reed.