Details emerge in Lawrence Attorney case

·3 min read

Jun. 10—LEXINGTON — It turns out the tax payers of Lawrence County, Kentucky, were helping the County Attorney make his mortgage payment, credit card payments, car payments, utility bills and more through the delinquent tax fund, an 18-page indictment details.

Earlier this week, a federal grand jury in Lexington issued a 15 count indictment against Michael T. Hogan, the Lawrence County Attorney, and his wife, Joy, accusing the couple of wire fraud and defrauding a federal program.

A copy of the indictment details how the Hogans lived high off the government trough for seven years, through embezzling money from the delinquent tax fund and good-old fashioned over billing at the Child Support Enforcement Office.

According to the indictment, the Lawrence County Attorney Office had its own bank account set up to deposit delinquent taxes at then-Louisa Community Bank, now Kentucky Farmers Bank. However, the grand jury found Hogan set up a second account of delinquent taxes, for which he had sole signature power.

Using that second account, Hogan would pay his wife "bonuses" for working as a secretary at the Lawrence County Attorney's Office. As a secretary, Joy Hogan was pulling in checks as large as $9,500, according to the indictment.

Between March 2013 and April 2020, Joy was paid about $365,000 from the Lawrence County Delinquent Tax funds, which she received in addition to her $40,000 salary and benefits from the State of Kentucky and the Lawrence County Fiscal Court, according to federal records.

When questioned by the Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts — which brought $126,000 in bonuses to Joy to the public's attention last year — Hogan wrote in a May 15, 2020 email that "the compensation Joy Hogan received from the Delinquent Tax Fund was salary supplementation in the form of honest pay for honest work that clearly benefited the public in the form of compensating an exemplary employee who goes above and beyond to serve the office and the people of Lawrence County at a consistently high level," the indictment stated.

According to the indictment, while delinquent tax monies could be used for expenses of the County Attorney's Office, they could not be used for bonuses.

As far as the government program theft charges are concerned, it's alleged Michael Hogan overcharged the Child Support Enforcement Office between 2015 and June 2020.

Hogan billed about 65 hours per month, "despite working a small fraction of those hours," according to the indictment. He also would bill work done by salaried employees as his own and paid employees working for his law firm with the monies from time-to-time, according to court records.

Since the chid support office receives federal funds through programs, grants and subsidies via the state, that's how Hogan got hit on those charges, records show.

While the indictment doesn't spell out the amount believed to be stolen, it is noted he was paid $55 per hour for working on child support cases.

At 65 hours a month, that would work out to about $42,900 a year.

(606) 326-2653 — henry@dailyindependent.com