Former Nichols official indicted for theft

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By Thomas Barr

 NICHOLS - A man who allegedly used fire department funds for personal use has been indicted by the Bullitt County Grand Jury.

James P. Johnson Jr.,  of Shepherdsville, has been indicted on the charge of theft by unlawful taking over $10,000.

This is a Class C felony punishable by 5-10 years in prison.

According to a Dec. 13, 2010, article in The Pioneer News, the former chairman and treasurer for the Nichols Fire Tax District allegedly embezzled more than $100,000 from the agency.

Det. Scotty McGaha of the Bullitt County Sheriff’s Department said that several board members approached him about some irregularities.

Going back to January 2009, McGaha said there appeared to be some financial irregularities.

Johnson served as the treasurer until last year when he was laid off due to financial restraints.

During the investigation, McGaha said there were ATM withdrawals and checks written from the district to Johnson’s personal account.

Some of the ATM transactions were at casinos in Atlantic City, Arizona and Indiana.

Another district account had been set up for construction projects.

There were also checks written to cover personal expenses for Johnson, according to McGaha.

The board members trusted Johnson, according to McGaha, and they didn’t question any of the financial information he gave them.

The detective felt that the financial issues might have arisen for Johnson when he retired as city treasurer for Anchorage in 2008.

The board most recently took steps to tighten the security.

Johnson is out on bond. No court date has been set.