Former church treasurer sentenced to 33 months in prison after stealing $500K

Published 10:24 am Friday, January 13, 2023

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A Scott County man was sentenced at U.S. District Court in Lexington to 33 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to stealing more than $500,000 over a three-and-a-half-year period, while serving as treasurer of his church.

The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Kentucky says Ralph Tackett, 66, admitted he embezzled a total of $512,042.00, in part through the commission of wire fraud. In his plea agreement, he said that from December 2015 until July of 2019, he stole money directly from the church, by transferring funds to pay on his personal credit cards, by issuing checks which he deposited into his own personal and business accounts for his own benefit, and by unlawfully transferring money in other ways, to meet the demands of a third-party.

Throughout this time, Tackett concealed the true nature of the church’s expenditures from the church pastor and board members, by exploiting his position of trust and the access he wielded as the organization’s treasurer. The church endured substantial financial hardship through Tackett’s theft.

As part of his sentence, Tackett was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $532,807.46 to the church.  This amount includes the amount of money he embezzled directly, as well as the additional costs the church was found to have incurred as a direct result of Tackett’s crime.

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The Georgetown News Graphic reported Tackett is a co-owner with his wife, Connie, of Tackett Real Estate & Property Management. The court documents do not identify the church because it is cooperating with the federal investigation, but Tackett was treasurer at Victory Life Church in Georgetown, according to the newspaper.

Under federal law, Tackett must serve 85% of his prison sentence, and upon his release from prison, he will be under the supervision of the U.S. Probation Office for three years.