Former state employee pleads guilty to $25K theft

By Kayleigh Zyskowski Published:

A former state worker could face 10 years in prison after she pleaded guilty to theft by deception of $25,605 from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

Forty-five-year-old Taressa Woolums stood with her co-defendant and boyfriend, Johnny Patterson, 40, both of 219 Todd St., as they pleaded guilty to the theft charge Friday in Franklin Circuit Court, accepting a plea agreement.

Woolums submitted false invoices to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, requesting money be paid to an address owned by Patterson called Bluegrass Solutions, according to court records. Woolums worked in the cabinet’s legal services for about 15 years before she resigned.

An investigation “revealed she had a photocopy of the signature of the person who was supposed to sign them (the invoices) to authorize them to be paid,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Larry Cleveland said at the time the two were indicted Oct. 6.

She used the photocopied signatures to make it appear the invoices had been approved, according to court records. Woolums was able to access the building after she resigned in March 2011 by piggybacking into the building when another employer entered, according to court records.

Twenty-two checks with Patterson’s signature and driver’s license number endorsed on them were recovered through the investigation, Cleveland said.

Cleveland recommended five years for the offense that could carry up to 10 years but will take no position on probation if the $25,605 in restitution is paid “in a timely manner,” according to court records.

The couple will be sentenced May 11, and Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd says he will note if restitution payments are made before then.

Shepherd released Woolums pending sentencing. Patterson will be held until a charge in Shelby County is cleared.
Also in Franklin Circuit Court Friday:

>Jamar Rancher, 20, of 1030 Champion Drive, was granted shock probation for five years after proving he completed Crossroads, a rehabilitation program.

Rancher is one of three men who robbed Dylan Morse, of Ridgeview Drive, Dec. 29, 2009.

Morse told police two men armed with handguns and wearing masks forced their way into his residence and demanded money, Maj. Fred Deaton said after the report was filed.

Gerren Spain, 18, of Ellenwood, Ga., and Cory Hay, 22, of 803 Fields Ave., were the other suspects.

Morse gave them $50 and was punched in the face about three times, a police report says.

According to Deaton, witnesses followed the men until they jumped into a gold 2002 Chevrolet Malibu, which police later found in a Kroger parking lot.

Cleveland was opposed to probation Friday, but Shepherd said he’d give Rancher a chance because he’s completed the program.

“I think you have demonstrated to the court you are willing to turn your life around,” Shepherd told him in court Friday.

>Miyia Derrick, 22, was sentenced to two years of probation after she pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a drug bust more than a  year ago.

State police arrested Derrick with three others in a Frankfort apartment after a drug investigation turned up suspected crack cocaine, Xanax, liquid hydrocodone, marijuana, a handgun and $2,000 cash.

Police arrested William Robards, 23 and Charles McCleskey, 22, on drug charges after state and local police went to 225 Landings Drive Apt. 3, according to police reports.

Derrick informed the court she has recently moved to Nashville, Tenn. However, since her charges were amended to misdemeanors she will be under unsupervised probation.

“…But probation and parole will do criminal records checks, and if they find you’ve re-offended you will serve the full 12 months in Franklin County,” Shepherd said.

Robards also pleaded guilty Friday and will be sentenced May 18.

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.