Former KY prosecutor ordered to repay nearly $600,000 in theft, conspiracy case

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A former Kentucky county prosecutor has been ordered to pay nearly $600,000 after pleading guilty to overbilling and paying improper bonuses to his wife.

Michael T. Hogan, the former county attorney in Lawrence County, is liable for $366,550 of that total along with his wife, Joy, and owes $232,127 by himself, for a total of $598,677.

Hogan and his wife each pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and Hogan pleaded guilty to an additional charge of theft from a government program.

U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove sentenced them last September, but left open the issue of how much money they would have to repay.

Hogan admitted that as county attorney, he overbilled the state for work he did to collect child support, and that his wife received extra checks from delinquent-tax collections his office handled, disguising them as bonuses.

Helping collect child support and delinquent property taxes are among the jobs that county attorneys perform in Kentucky, along with several others, including prosecuting misdemeanor crimes and traffic offenses.

In the seven years that Joy Hogan received more than $300,000 in extra pay, the most any other employee received in bonuses was $10,000, a prosecutor said in a sentencing memorandum.

People who worked in Hogan’s office also estimated to the FBI that nearly all the time he billed for collecting child support was fraudulent.

The Hogans consented to the forfeiture amounts, according the judge’s order.

Michael Hogan is serving a sentence of three years and six months, and his wife is serving 12 months and one day.

Van Tatenhove entered the restitution order against them last month.

The $366,550 in the restitution order would go to the Lawrence County Attorney’s Office, and the $232,127 would go to the child-support program.

Michael Hogan served as county attorney in Lawrence County from 2003 until he resigned in early 2022 as part of his guilty plea, and also ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in the May 2019 Republican primary.

The FBI investigation of Hogan was rooted in a state audit released in May 2020 that identified the improper bonuses.

State Auditor Mike Harmon lauded the work of his staff on the case.

“I can’t say enough about the great job our auditing staff did on the exam of select county attorney offices in 2020, and the cooperation between our office and federal law enforcement that led to guilty pleas and the order to pay back taxpayer dollars,” said Harmon, a candidate for the Republican nomination for governor.