Sentencing is set for next month in Lexington for a former Letcher Circuit Court judge who was at the center of a public corruption scandal here more than 17 years ago.
Larry D. Collins, who became the first sitting circuit judge to be indicted in Kentucky when he was charged with accepting bribes in 1992, pleaded guilty in Fayette Circuit Court on March 25 on charges of making unauthorized purchases on the debit card of a former employer, Surgery on Sunday, Inc. The nonprofit organization provides outpatient surgery free of charge to people who cannot afford health insurance and who are not eligible for state or federal assistance.
Collins, 55, of 439 North Martin Luther King Blvd., Lexington, was arrested March 31, 2009, and charged with three counts of theft by unlawful taking (more than $300) and three counts of fraudulent use of a credit card. He was also charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun.
Collins is accused of using his employer’s debit card over a three-year period “for his own personal gain without permission.”
An arrest citation written by Officer E.S. McCrickard of the Lexington Fayette Urban County Police did not list monetary amounts, but says “the total (was) well over $100 in six months.”
The citation says that during the execution of a search warrant at Collins’s home, a revolver was found under the bed in his bedroom. “A lower receiver for a shotgun was also located with no barrel,” the document says.
A sentencing hearing has been set for 8:30 a.m. on May 14 in Fayette Circuit Court.
Collins assumed the offi ce of Letcher Circuit judge in January 1992 after defeating longtime Judge F. Byrd Hogg by a margin of nearly two to one. Less than a year later — on November 22, 1992 — Collins was arrested by Kentucky State Police at his home near Blackey and charged with accepting $7,000 and drugs to influence the outcome of a criminal case.
Collins resigned from offi ce in February 1993 and six months later was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of accepting a bribe from James “Mosey” Braddock of Deane.
Collins served six years as Letcher District Judge before he was elected circuit judge.