Whitesburg KY

Four accused of charging hundreds of dollars in fuel on company’s credit card

Three men and one woman have been charged with fraudulently using a credit card to buy hundreds of dollar’ worth of diesel fuel in the name of a Letcher County laboratory which specializes in coal sampling.

One of the four, 24-year-old Jesse Grover Burke Jr. of McRoberts, was arrested August 7 on charges contained in a seven-count indictment returned by the Letcher County Grand Jury in late June.

Deputy Lieutenant M.K. Terry of the Letcher County Sheriff’s Office, said the arrest of Burke is the result of a sixmonth investigation into the illegal use of a fuel credit card belonging to Standard Laboratory of Mayking.

Felony indictments in the case have also been returned against two Jenkins men, Michael Paul Ritchie, 28, and Byron Ellis Bentley, 27. The grand jury also returned a misdemeanor indictment against 33-year-old Angela M. Johnson of McRoberts.

The indictments, which were returned on June 28 after Terry appeared before the grand jury, charge that Burke and Ritchie, “while acting alone or in complicity,” used the credit card to steal $3,653 worth of diesel fuel during a four-day period last November. The individual purchases made between Nov. 22 and Nov. 26 ranged in price from $776.25 to $636.08.

Both men are charged with seven counts of complicity to the fraudulent use of a credit card.

Johnson is accused by the grand jury and Lt. Terry of using the credit card to “obtain less than $100 of gasoline” on Nov. 19, 2006. The fraudulent use of a credit card charge filed against her is a Class A misdemeanor. Her case will be handled in Letcher District Court.

Bentley is accused of using the card to obtain more than $100 of gasoline. As with Burke and Ritchie, the charge against Bentley is a Class D felony. If convicted, however, Bentley’s penalty would be enhanced because he was also charged by the grand jury with being a persistent felony offender. The indictment says Bentley was charged with committing another felony in 2005.

Terry said the investigation is continuing, and that others are expected to be charged in the case.

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