Whitesburg KY

Federal grand jury re-indicts Chum Tackett

Former Golden Years Rest Home administrator James F. “Chum” Tackett was re-indicted last week on charges of stealing thousands of federal dollars that were intended to pay for the care of the home’s residents.

Tackett, 69, was originally indicted on May 26 by a federal grand jury in Pikeville on one felony count of theft of government funds. The jury then charged that Tackett “embezzled, stole and converted to his own use or the use of another” approximately 34 Economic Recovery Payments, or “stimulus checks,” made payable to Godlen Years residents.

That single felony indictment was dismissed on September 8, and on September 21 Tackett was re-indicted on 34 misdemeanor charges of stealing of stealing the stimulus checks, each in the amount of $250 each and each made payable to a specific nursing home resident in May 2009.

Eighteen other felony charges of theft of government funds that Tackett was charged with on May 26 remain in effect. He is accused of stealing about $100,000 by converting 365 Social Security checks made payable to the nursing home residents from 2006 until 2009. At the time of the alleged offenses, Golden Years Rest Home cared for approximately 40 residents who obtained money from a variety of federally funded programs to help pay for the care they received.

According to the indictment, many of the residents weren’t in a condition to handle their financial affairs and designated Tackett as a representative payee so he could manage their finances. Tackett allegedly used this control to deposit the federally funded checks made payable to the residents into the rest home’s bank account or took cash out of rest home’s account for his own personal use.

In April 2010, Tackett was indicted by a Letcher County grand jury on charges of stealing more than $50,000 from residents. He was charged with 66 counts of theft over $500, two counts of theft over $10,000, one count of theft under $500 and five counts of exploitation of an adult over $300.

The charges, which cover the period from September 2005 to October 2009, came as the result of an investigation by Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway’s office.

According to the indictment, Tackett obtained “funds from U.S. Treasury checks and Kentucky Department of the Treasury checks and intentionally dealt with property as his own.” The indictment also says the conduct was “wantonly tolerated by the board of directors of Golden Years Rest Home or by a high managerial agent” of the nursing home.

Special Judge Kim Childers, who is the Knott and Magoffin counties circuit judge, has recused herself from presiding over the state’s case in Letcher County.

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