INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Attorney General’s Office is seeking to recoup hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Clinton County sheriff and his wife.
In paperwork filed this week by Attorney General Todd Rokita, the state seeks to recover nearly $330,000 in taxpayer money under the Crime Victims Relief Act.
Sheriff Rich Kelly and his wife Ashley Kelly already face official misconduct and conflict of interest charges in the case, which involved a limited liability company the two established two months before Rich Kelly took office.
A special investigation by the Indiana State Board of Accounts found the two received $219,634.65 in unauthorized payments from the jail commissary through the LLC, Leonne. Ashley Kelly owned 51% of the company while Rich Kelly owned 49%, according to the complaint.
The Attorney General’s Office accused the couple of misappropriations and diversions of public funds. Ashley Kelly was hired by her husband as the jail matron and commissary manager.
From January 2019 through September 2021, checks were issued from the Jail Commissary Fund to Leonne, LLC, without a written agreement to support or authorize the payments, according to the complaint.
“Richard Kelly, Ashley Kelly, and Leonne, LLC, wrongfully diverted, failed to account for, and wrongfully retained and misappropriated public funds, and/or illegally expended public monies,” the complaint said.
The state is seeking $329,360.47 and asking the court to order the couple and their company to “disgorge any and all ill-gotten gains and/or diverted funds” and grant “all other just and proper relief.” The amount includes the jail commissary money plus costs associated with the special investigation.
The state is also seeking treble damages, which could triple the amount.
The criminal case is still working its way through the courts. Kelly, who ran unopposed in the 2022 general election, was re-elected as sheriff after a contested primary.