Ex-Kentucky sheriff indicted on charges he stole more than $50,000

Published 10:10 pm Friday, January 21, 2022

A former eastern Kentucky sheriff is accused of stealing more than $50,000 of cash seized by law enforcement, according to a federal indictment.

Prosecutors announced Thursday that Keith Cooper, 68, was indicted last week by a grand jury in Covington on one count of mail fraud and one count of theft of property from a federally funded agency, news outlets reported.

Cooper served as Greenup County sheriff from 1996 until the end of 2018, according to court records. He’s accused of embezzling money that belonged to the agency from 2013 until 2017, according to the indictment.

Cooper made cash withdrawals from the agency’s asset forfeiture fund, which holds proceeds from properties seized in drug investigations that can only be used for law enforcement purposes, the indictment said.

He used the money for personal uses and “otherwise unauthorized uses as he deemed fit,” according to the indictment.

After state agencies began looking into the missing money, court records say he had deputies prepare false police reports that he sent to investigators.

Authorities haven’t set a date for Cooper to appear in court and it wasn’t immediately clear whether he has an attorney.