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Former auditor files plea agreement

By John Estridge, Editor

Former Franklin County Auditor Steve Brack has petitioned the court that he plans to plead guilty to two felony counts of Theft.

The plea agreement was filed in the Franklin Circuit Court Clerk’s Office last week.

Brack, while he was the Franklin County auditor, may be the first elected county official in the long history of the county to be charged with felonies while in office.

It is alleged Brack stole $1,488 from the Brookville Kiwanis while he was treasurer of that charitable organization.

He is charged with a class D felony and a Level 6 Felony regarding the alleged thefts.

The law was changed in 2015 moving the state from four felonies to six felonies. Some of the alleged offenses took place before the law was changed and some took place after the law change.

Ironically, Brack’s attorney, Jud McMillin, was a state legislator at the time and led the way in making the changes to the state’s criminal code statutes, which includes lesser sentences for felony theft.

This summer, Brack was charged with four more felonies regarding alleged thefts he made while the trustee treasurer at the Whitcomb Methodist Church.

That case is not related to this case.

In that case, Union County Prosecutor A.J. Bryson is the special prosecutor. Fayette Superior Court Judge Paul L. Freed is the special judge in both criminal cases.

In his plea agreement to the alleged Kiwanis Club thefts, Brack, 68, will receive one year on each count to be served consecutive with each other, meaning one after the other.

All the time will be suspended to probation, meaning he will be on probation for two years. He has been ordered to pay $888 in restitution prior to being sentenced.

If Brack successfully completes probation, his charges will be reduced to class A misdemeanors.

His plea agreement is signed by Brack, McMillin and special prosecutor Richard Hertel of Ripley County.

A Guilty Plea and Sentencing hearing has been scheduled for 9 a.m., Monday, Nov. 13, in the Fayette Superior Court before Freed.

According to an Affidavit of Probable Cause, ISP Detective Vance Patton began his investigation on Dec. 31, 2015.

The Kiwanis Club president told Patton there were 16 checks written to cash or to Brack. Brack was able to explain the need for six of the checks but, he could not explain the other 10.

Patton said Brack admitted to him that “he wrote the checks to himself and to cash for what appeared to be Kiwanis business, but stated they were not used for those purposes and that he kept those funds personally, saying he acted ‘irresponsible.’”

Hertel filed the two felonies against Brack.

One is the class D felony. In the information for the charge, it states that between Oct. 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014 “Brack knowingly or intentionally exerted unauthorized control over property of the Brookville Kiwanis Club with intent to deprive the Brookville Kiwanis Club of its value, to wit Brack wrote checks to himslef and to cash from the Brookville Kiwanis Club checkbook for personal purposes having no relationship with Kiwanis business or reimbursement for Kiwanis business, five checks totaling approximately $738.”

The law changed effective July 1, 2014, where four felonies going from class A to class D were changed to six felonies going from Level 1 to Level 6.

McMillin resigned as a state legislator in 2015. Both he and Brack are Republicans.

The second count is a Level 6 Felony.

It states between July 1, 2014 and March 1, 2015, Brack wrote five checks totaling approximately $750 from the Kiwanis checkbook for personal purposes having no relationship with Kiwanis business or reimbursement for Kiwanis business.

If convicted of the class D felony, Brack could have received six months to three years in prison.

A Level 6 Felony conviction carries with it a sentence ranging from six months to two-and-a-half years in the Franklin County Security Center.

Monday, Nov. 13’s hearing is open to the public.