Bank robbery, tax fraud, child porn, meth trafficking, civil rights pleas taken, sentences handed down

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)A former Deputy Sheriff from Cattlesburg, Ky., Patrick Allen Adkins, pleaded guilty in federal court Monday, before U.S. District Court Judge David L. Bunning, admitting he violated the rights of a woman to be free from unwanted sexual conduct.

Adkins admitted that, in 2013, he used his position as deputy sheriff at the Boyd County Sheriff’s Department to request a female victim perform sexual acts on him, in exchange for assisting her with retrieving property she had reported as taken.

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According to the plea agreement, Adkins also directed her to destroy evidence of his conduct, to keep her from reporting him to other law enforcement.

Adkins was indicted in June 2018.

“The conduct in this case was particularly despicable,” said Robert M. Duncan Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “The victim asked for the assistance of law enforcement; instead, she became the victim of abuse and her civil rights were violated.  The defendant callously disregarded his oath to uphold the law and protect the public.  Fortunately, his actions are not representative of the overwhelming majority of law enforcement officers – individuals who serve with integrity, respect for the law, and compassion for victims. It is our hope that the defendant’s guilty plea and conviction can, in some way, mitigate the damage he has done.

“The vast majority of law enforcement officers valiantly perform their duties. Officers like Adkins who act for their own self-interest do a disservice to all law enforcement and to the citizens of Kentucky,” said Special Agent in Charge James Robert Brown Jr., FBI Louisville Field Office.  “Police misconduct erodes public confidence and trust in law enforcement.  For that reason, investigations into public corruption and the violation of civil rights are the FBI’s top criminal priorities. I hope Adkins’ guilty plea shows our commitment to honest law enforcement in the Commonwealth.”

The investigation was conducted by the FBI and Kentucky State Police.

Adkins is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 14, 2020.  He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.  However, any sentence will be imposed by the Court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal sentencing statutes.

In an unrelated case, a Lawrenceburg man, 53-year-old Joe G. Peavler was sentenced Monday to 30 months in federal prison for wire fraud and assisting in the preparation of a false income tax return.

In his plea agreement, Peavler admitted that between 2004 and 2018, he managed a warehouse owned by someone else and, during that time, devised a plan to rent space in the warehouse to two separate entities, keeping the money for himself without knowledge of the owners.

Peavler also admitted to failing to declare this rent money on his tax returns, for each of the years he received the rent.

Under federal law, Peavler must serve 85 percent of his prison sentence and will be under the supervision of the U.S. Probation Office for three years, following his release.  As part of his sentence, Peavler was also ordered to pay an excess of $1.5 million in restitution.

In another case, 81-year-old Theresa C. Merced, of Jackson, Ky., was sentenced to five months in prison followed by five months of home detention, and fined $55,000 for soliciting kickbacks from a toxicology laboratory in exchange for urine drug testing referrals, lying to law enforcement agents about the kickback she received, and then attempting to cover up the kickback by requesting the alteration of certain financial records.

Merced, the office manager of a substance abuse treatment clinic in Jackson previously admitted that between December 2018 and August 2019, she solicited kickbacks from the CEO of a toxicology lab in exchange for urine drug test referrals.

In August 2019 the CEO delivered to Merced a $4,000 check as part of a larger package of promised inducements, which she cashed.

When Merced was questioned about the check by law enforcement agents in September 2019, she denied it, and said the $4,000 was probably a loan from the lab CEO to her husband.

Shortly after her interview with the agents concluded, Merced called the lab CEO and asked that he alter the lab’s financial records so the entry for the $4,000 check would say “rent/loan,” consistent with the lie she told the agents.

Under federal law, Merced must serve 85 percent of her prison sentence and will be under the supervision of the U.S. Probation Office for three years. As a special condition of her supervised release, Merced is prohibited from working in any capacity in which she influences referrals for medical testing.

In another unrelated case, 38-year-old Danny P. Chaffin Jr., of Ashland, was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison for bank robbery.

According to Chaffin’s plea agreement, he admitted that on April 5, 2019, he robbed the Bluegrass Community Federal Credit Union in Ashland.

Chaffin admitted to wearing a black mask and running into the Credit Union and demanding the teller to “Give me all the money now!”  The teller complied, and Chaffin was able to take $12,506.

Chaffin was arrested the following day in possession of $10,256 of the bank’s money.

Under federal law, Chaffin must serve 85 percent of his prison sentence and will be under the supervision of the U.S. Probation Office for three years, following his release.

Meanwhile,  37-year-old Randy Lee Hall, of Union, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

Hall admitted that on Nov. 14, 2019, he possessed with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. According to his plea agreement, law enforcement officials searched Hall’s car and recovered 64.5 grams of the drug and Hall admitted he intended to distribute it.

Hall was indicted in December 2019.

Hall will be sentenced on a date yet to be determined by the Court.  He faces a sentence of not less than 10 years and not more than life imprisonment, and a fine of not more than $10 million.

Finally, 66-year-old Gary Kendall, of Raceland, Ky., was sentenced to 120 months in prison, for possession of child pornography.

According to his plea agreement, Kentucky State Police began investigating Kendall based on a cybertip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

According to the tip, the electronic service provider Chatstep reported that on Jan. 6, 2017, a suspected image of child pornography had been uploaded by a user of its internet chat service.

A search executed at Kendall’s residence revealed a hard drive with five images depicting sexual images of females who were under 12 years old.

Kendall admitted he used Chatstep and that he would go to the site, pretending he was a little girl, to upload images.

Kendall was already a lifetime registered sex offender at the time of the investigation. Kendall previously was convicted in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of West Virginia of receiving child pornography in March 2001.

Under federal law, Kendall must serve 85 percent of his prison sentence and will be under the supervision of the U.S. Probation Office for 15 years, following his release.