SOMERSET, Ky, - A county coroner in southern Kentucky has been charged with 26 counts of theft that occurred at a funeral home where he once worked.
Pulaski County Coroner Richard New was indicted by a grand jury on Tuesday, according to Kentucky State Police.
Trooper Don Trosper told the Commonwealth Journal in Somerset (http://bit.ly/N0T4M6 ) the thefts occurred over a nine-year span at Lake Cumberland Funeral Home and totaled about $60,000.
New was fired from his managerial job at the home in May 2011.
"Although I have not seen any indictment, I have been made aware that his former employer now alleges that (New) was stealing from them," New's attorney, John Gillum, said in a statement to the newspaper. He said New would be exonerated of the theft charges.
Gillum said the timing of the indictment is suspect because New is running a competitor, Southern Oaks Funeral Home, located on the Ky. 914 Bypass.
"The timing of these allegations is certainly curious and coincidental considering that (New) has just opened a new, competing funeral home," Gillum stated.
An attorney for the Lake Cumberland Funeral Home's board, Bruce Orwin, said the board of directors had nothing to do with the indictment's timing. Orwin also stated that New was terminated from his position at Lake Cumberland Funeral Home after the board "discovered some financial irregularities and immediately contacted law enforcement."
He said KSP brought in a forensic accountant to scan the funeral home's financial records.
"They found a number of things the board didn't know about," Orwin said. "There were other things the state police found on their own."
Information from: Commonwealth Journal, http://www.somerset-kentucky.com
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