Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

October 17, 2012

Former firm bookkeeper to be resentenced

ASHLAND — A former law firm bookkeeper convicted of embezzlement in 2009 will be resentenced in federal court next month after winning part of her appeal.

In a ruling handed down last month, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati upheld 16 of the 17 counts on which Ronda Nixon was convicted.

However, the appeals court also agreed with Nixon’s attorney’s contention there was insufficient evidence to support her conviction for using an unauthorized access device — an American Express credit card. The court reversed her conviction on that count and ordered the case be remanded to U.S. District Court in Ashland for resentencing.

Judge David L. Bunning scheduled Nixon’s resentencing for 10:30 a.m. Nov. 13.

Nixon, 41, was sentenced to 54 months in prison after  a jury convicted her in February 2009 on 11 counts of wire fraud, two counts of counts bank fraud, three counts of aggravated identity theft and one count of use of an unauthorized access device. Nixon stole $93,477 from the Catlettsburg law firm of Pruitt & Thorner.

According to the government, Nixon had access to the firm’s bank accounts and to the identifying information of her boss, Garis L. Pruitt, the firm’s senior partner.

In October 2006, at Pruitt’s direction, Nixon obtained an American Express credit card for the firm that was to have been used to make business purchases for the firm. However, according to trial testimony, Nixon used the card to make numerous personal purchases between October 2006 and July 2007, without permission from Pruitt.

To pay the credit card bills, Nixon would withdraw money from the firm’s bank accounts. To replace the money in those accounts, she opened an American Express Bank line of credit, using Pruitt’s name and Social Security number, and forging his signature to obtain funds from the account.

Nixon withdrew $19,500 from the American Express account to cover up the credit card charges, according to federal prosecutors.

In addition to paying off a $10,600 student loan, Nixon used the law firm’s credit card to purchase airline tickets to Las Vegas, cosmetics from May Kay, Victoria’s Secret clothing and massages.

In appealing her conviction, Nixon maintained her conviction for using an unauthorized access device was improper because Pruitt had authorized her to obtain the American Express card and the government had not presented any evidence at trial she intended at the time she obtained it to use it to defraud the firm.

According to the appeals court’s 22-page ruling, the government conceded it had failed to prove the card was an unauthorized access device, which is defined by law as “any access device that is lost, stolen, expired, revoked, canceled or obtained with intent to defraud.”

Nixon is serving her sentence at the Federal Prison Camp in Alderson, W.Va. Her current projected release date is August, according to the Bureau of Prisons’ online inmate locater.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 0419sciencehs.JPG Russell High School wins State Science Olympiad

    The long ride home from Bowling Green was tinged with disappointment for Russell High School students who believed they’d finished as also-rans in the state Science Olympiad last weekend.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0419sciencems.JPG Russell Middle School state Science Olympiad champions

    From identifying hundreds of insects to designing and operating mechanical contraptions that just look like insects, a team of Russell Middle School students took their research and technical skills to the Science Olympiad in Bowling Green last week and came back state champions.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0419melodies0114.jpg Kitchen jazzes up downtown lunch hour

    Some came to enjoy the relaxing sounds of cool jazz and traditional tunes at lunch, while others attended in hopes of picking up a few tricks from a master musician as guitarist Chris Kitchen kicked off the Melodies & Masterpieces concert series in downtown Ashland Friday afternoon.

    April 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • Sparks, Waddell in Carter Coronor’s race

    Incumbent George A. Sparks of Grayson will face challenger William Waddell of Olive Hill in the Democratic primary election for the Carter County coroner’s seat.

    April 18, 2014

  • 04/18/2014 — What's Happening

    Local news

    April 18, 2014

  • Bill3.jpg 'Dreams'

    It was in her own death that Donna Schoonover helped William Schoonover redefine his life.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • guyp-rodnew.jpg 'Uplifting people'

    The snow kept gospel singer Guy Penrod chilling a little longer than it should have this spring.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0418star0024.jpg Raising the roof

    Leaks will soon be a thing of the past at Star Elementary School, where workers are busy putting up a new roof.
     

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fire at Russell care facility

    A care facility for the elderly in Russell was temporarily evacuated following a fire in the kitchen Wednesday night.
     

    April 18, 2014

  • Incumbent, newcomer vie for PVA position

    A longtime office-holder is facing a rare primary challenge in the Greenup County property valuation administrator race.

    April 18, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP basketball
SEC Zone