Lesley Wade.jpg

Lesley Wade

The former finance director for Franklin County Schools is due to be sentenced Sept. 11 for filing nine years worth of false state tax returns.

Lesley Cummins Wade, 44, is already facing a maximum of 23 years in prison after pleading guilty to federal money laundering and filing a false tax return.

Both cases stem from Wade’s tenure with the school district. She stole more than $1.6 million over the course of eight years and laundered the money through a church where she served as treasurer, according to court documents. 

Franklin Commonwealth’s Attorney Larry Cleveland said Wade pleaded guilty in July to nine counts of willfully filing a false tax return, a Class D felony. The terms of her plea agreement call for her to be sentenced to 10 years, after the charges were split into two groups of five years each, which will run consecutively for a total of 10 years, Cleveland said. 

She is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 11 in Franklin Circuit Court.

Restitution of approximately $82,000 is also part of the plea agreement, though Cleveland said it may be a while before it is paid. Wade was also ordered to pay $367,000 to the IRS as part of her plea agreement in federal court.

“When she gets out, she would be expected to pay restitution as part of her probation,” he said. “I suspect it will be a long time coming.”

The allegations came to light in June 2019 following an FBI investigation into a check Wade deposited in the amount of $89,100 to Leestown Gospel Church, where she was the treasurer. Within a day of the school district's being notified, Wade resigned.

She pleaded guilty in May to an "information" in U.S. District Court. An information is a formal charging document filed by prosecutors rather than going through the grand jury. In the federal case, Wade is facing a maximum of 20 years for money laundering and three years for filing a false tax return in 2016, plus restitution of $367,000 to the IRS for taxes on the stolen money.

Cleveland said the state sentence would run concurrently with the federal sentence.

Wade is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 17 in U.S. District Court in Frankfort.

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