Two former McLean County senior service employees plead guilty March 28 to unsworn falsification to authorities — a class B misdemeanor — in regards to misusing federal funds.
On Feb. 8, Kentucky State Police charged Richard “Scott” Settle, former outreach and marketing coordinator of the senior center, and Daniel Miller, former service program assistant who worked as a meal delivery driver, with theft by unlawful taking of more than $1,000 — a class D felony. Both entered a plea agreement to the amended charge.
Settle and Miller were required to pay a joint restitution of $4,778.81 to the McLean County Fiscal Court, which was paid in full following Tuesday’s hearing, according to Ryan Rice, county attorney for the Muhlenberg County Attorney’s Office in Greenville, who was involved in the case as special prosecutor.
Settle and Miller each received a $250 fine — the maximum fine for a class B misdemeanor — and are under unsupervised probation for two years.
Rice said the decision to amend the charges in cases like Settle and Miller’s depends on “a lot of factors,” such as the criminal history of the defendants and “to see how much contact they’ve had with the court system in the past.”
“That does, at least in my eyes as a prosecutor, bode well for someone who doesn’t have that type of extensive criminal history, as far as the disposition of whatever that charge may be,” he said. “... However, it depends on the nature of what they’re accused of doing.”
Rice was contacted by McLean County Attorney Donna Dant, who cited a conflict due to Settle and Miller being county employees at the time.
“As often times in McLean County and Muhlenberg County, since we share the same judge, we often do special prosecution or conflict cases for each other … unless our own selves have a conflict,” Rice said.
When appointed to the case, Rice made contact with McLean County Fiscal Court, Judge-Executive Curtis Dame and Commonwealth’s Attorney Clayton Adams prior to Settle and Miller entering the plea agreement.
“As a prosecutor, you have a duty to make sure your victims are made whole; … and especially financial crimes, that takes precedence — meaning the timing of that and when they can pay (the amount owed),” Rice said. “... In this case, not only were we taking into consideration the lack of criminal history that Mr. Settle and Mr. Miller had with the court and also, in this case, their ability to pay restitution readily at that time.”
Rice said a majority of the case revolved around allegations that Settle and Miller did not provide financial documentation to back up certain expenses.
“Unsworn falsification to authorities essentially says that a person is guilty of this offense when they intend to mislead a public servant; in this case Judge-Executive Curtis Dame and his magistrates (and) for making material false written statements ….”
According to Rice, the funds were “largely grant funds, but were county controlled.”
“They had an obligation to provide documentation and tracing to … every dollar they spent,” he said. “They simply did not have that.”
Rice said some expense records were believed to have been destroyed when the senior center in Calhoun was destroyed in a December 2020 fire.
“We were limited to what we did have, and (trying) to piece together the best amount of restitution is what I was most concerned about, that was owed to the fiscal court,” Rice said. “We worked hard to make sure that was something appropriate for the judge-executive and the fiscal court, which ultimately did, and we were able to resolve the case ….”
Settle stepped down as senior center director Oct. 13, 2022, “regarding a different matter,” according to Dame. He was replaced by Sandra Martin.
Dame said Settle and Miller were suspended without pay shortly after their arrests and submitted letters of resignation Feb. 23, ending their employment with the county.
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