Former Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer has been indicted by a federal grand jury on four counts of misusing and misappropriating funds from the Department of Agriculture. Farmer also faces a charge of soliciting property in exchange for influencing department actions.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Lexington made the announcement this morning. The charges against Farmer include allegations that he took guns, watches, and knives bought as gifts from a convention in 2008.
Each of the five counts against the former UK basketball star carries a penalty of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000. Any sentence following a conviction would be imposed by a judge under federal court sentencing guidelines.
U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey says Farmer will be arraigned on April 30.
Allegations of spending and hiring abuses during Farmer’s tenure as Agriculture Commissioner prompted his successor, James Comer, to ask for an audit of Farmer’s time at the department. The report released by state auditor Adam Edelen found what he called “a toxic culture of entitlement and self-dealing at the Kentucky taxpayers’ expense.”