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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- Former McMahan Fire Chief Paul Barth has been sentenced to three and a half years and must pay $198,000 in restitution to the Crusade for Children and McMahan Fire District as part of a plea deal on embezzlement charges.
He was indicted in April 2010 on 16 counts of fraud and money laundering. He resigned his position as chief in January 2010.
Barth has had trouble paying the money. He now has two days to sign over a mortgage on his home to the federal government, or prosecutors say they may move to make his 41-month sentence even longer.
His attorney Thomas Clay said Monday, "This is a circumstance beyond his control. They had a closing set for end of October that would have generated to play off this restitution amount. The closing fell through, so here we are today without the money, but he is going to sign a mortgage that will ensure payment of this restitution."
Federal officials back in April of 2010 said Barth opened a business savings account at National City Bank for the Crusade and he was the only authorized signature on the account. Prosecutors say he fraudulently withdrew money and overpaid his salary to pay personal expenses. Barth was accused of issuing 13 additional checks totaling over $40,000.
Secret Service agents said Barth charged more than $40,000 in personal expenses on the fire district's credit card, including $10,000 for property taxes on his fleet of collector convertibles. Agent Paul Johnson says Barth took personal trips and used the department credit card to pay for the bills. All told, federal agents said Barth embezzled and laundered over $300,000.
Barth issued a statement of apology saying he had taken responsibility, and he asked for forgiveness, but never spoke to the judge or the media on Monday. As his attorney explained, "He's not happy with what happened or the people he let down. So I think it's a situation where he felt the less he said the better. Some may say that's not genuine, that if he were really sorry he would at least stand up and say it. I guess people will have to make their own decision on that."
The Bureau of Prisons will decide where Barth spends his time, with an official report date set for about 45 days from now. Until then he's free. Barth requested the Manchester Correctional Facility in eastern Kentucky.
There is no early parole for good behavior on a federal conviction, and by copping to a deal he lost his right to appeal.