At her first of two sentencing hearings within a week’s time, former Franklin County Schools Finance Director Lesley Wade on Friday received a 10-year prison sentence and a restitution order for $81,753.
Wade was sentenced by Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate following her July plea agreement on nine counts of willfully making or filing a false tax return. The charges stem from approximately $1.6 million she embezzled from the school district over several years.
Wade, 44, has also pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to money laundering charges and filing a false 2016 tax return. She could be sentenced to a maximum of 23 years in prison, in addition to paying $367,000 in restitution.
Wingate sentenced Wade to five years for each of the nine counts, which are D felonies. The charges were split into two groups for concurrent sentences of five years, with the two group sentences running consecutively for a total of 10 years.
Wade said nothing during Friday’s proceeding.
She is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove next Friday.
Franklin County Commonwealth’s Attorney Larry Cleveland said her state sentence would run concurrently with her federal sentence. Wade’s Franklin County charges are all related to unpaid taxes on the money she stole from the school district, he said.
Wade resigned in June 2019 after FBI officials contacted the school district following an investigation into a check for $89,100 Wade deposited into an account for Leestown Gospel Church, where she was treasurer.
According to court documents, the thefts had gone on for eight years and she laundered the money through the church’s account.