CATLETTSBURG The former Boyd County Child Support Office manager accused of stealing $113,000 from the office’s payroll account, by forging an attorney’s signature, stood for arraignment in Boyd County Circuit Court on Tuesday.
Mary E. Pickett, 55, of Flatwoods was arraigned in Boyd County Circuit Court on Tuesday in front of Judge John Vincent.
Pickett, represented by attorney David Mussetter, waived formal arraignment and entered a not-guilty plea on behalf of Pickett.
Mussetter said in court that this is a case they hope to resolve. He said Pickett is prepared to pay restitution and acknowledge her wrongdoing.
“Mrs. Pickett is prepared to acknowledge her wrongdoing and accept responsibility for her misconduct,” said Mussetter. “She's deeply sorry. She’s betrayed the trust of a lot of people.”
Pickett was indicted on Nov. 26 by the Boyd County Grand Jury on 77 charges, including one count of theft by unlawful taking, $10,000 or more, a class C felony punishable by five to 10 years incarcerated, and 76 counts of first-degree forgery, a class C felony, punishable by five to 10 years incarcerated.
Pickett is accused of altering a written instrument, forging the signature of Carter County Attorney Brian K. Bayes, to take more than $113,000 from the Boyd County Child Support Office’s payroll and general funds account.
The child support contracting official contacted Kentucky State Police Post 14 on Sept. 27 concerning Pickett unlawfully taking money from the payroll account. She was terminated and escorted out of the office, according to KSP.
Through investigation, KSP determined a large sum of money was taken over a period of years from the payroll account.
Mussetter said the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office and Kentucky State Police adjusted their investigation from a two-year time period to a seven-year time period.
“(They) conducted a thorough forensic audit, and because of that, the number we were talking about at first has expanded,” said Mussetter.
Mussetter said the defense needs a two- to four-week period to review the discovery that was given to them.
Mussetter requested the matter of bond be reduced, since Pickett’s calculated flight risk was low. The court utilizes a pre-trial formula to determine their risk after release based off court appearance attendance and priors.
“I understand that, but this is a very serious case,” said Vincent.
“The commonwealth has spoken to the victim in the case — Carter County attorney Brian Bayes strenuously objects to bond,” said Boyd County Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Christina Smith. “Over $113,000 was taken. To make it clear, it was from payroll and general operating business account, it was not taken from any child support cases. But Bayes does strenuously object to bond.”
“I respect the court’s concern that this is a very serious case,” said Mussetter. “Besides accepting responsibility, Mrs. Pickett hopes to make restitution. She’s prepared to present at $10,000 bond.”
Vincent said he remained concerned about the potential flight risk in this case.
“This indictment warrant was announced and entered on Nov. 26, and they just found Mrs. Pickett, I guess today,” he said. “That gives me some concern.”
Kentucky State Police stopped Pickett prior to arraignment and arrested her on the outstanding indictment charges. Pickett was immediately taken to the Boyd County Detention Center for processing prior to court arraignment.
Vincent ruled to adjust bond from $100,000 cash only to $100,000 cash or property.
The case remains under investigation by Detective Jeff Kelley.
“It's a case we hope to resolve,” said Mussetter.
Pickett’s next court date is Jan. 9 at 9 a.m. in front of Vincent.