SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A former southwest Missouri sheriff pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to embezzlement and using his position to promote a fraudulent investment scheme.
Under the terms of the plea deal, Joey Kyle, 53, will serve a year of imprisonment and must forfeit $71,640.
The Christian County commission accepted Kyle’s resignation just an hour before the plea hearing began and appointed the coroner to handle the sheriff’s duties until an interim sheriff is selected, according to a written statement. Kyle, who was honored in 2011 as the Missouri Deputy Sheriffs Association’s Sheriff of the Year, was first elected to the post in 2008.
Kyle’s lead attorney, Burton H. Shostak, didn’t immediately return a phone or email message from the Associated Press.
Kyle said through the plea that he knowingly submitted about 20 fraudulent invoices or purchase orders for about $50,000 in goods and services that were never provided to the county.
Kyle also admitted to using his position to promote a businessperson who misled investors about the amount of capital he had raised and how quickly products could be brought to market. The plea agreement said the businessperson used a “substantial amount” of the investment proceeds for personal expenses and to repay unhappy past investors.
The businessman paid Kyle about $21,000 for his service as a promotor, mostly by funneling the money through a law enforcement training business Kyle operated, the agreement said.
In pleading guilty to money laundering, Kyle admitted that “at the very least, he deliberately closed his eyes” to the fraud, which “should have been obvious to him.”