LAWRENCE, Kan. — A former Lawrence mayor has admitted to stealing money from a food pantry while he served as the organization’s executive director.
Jeremy Farmer, 33, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Topeka to one count of interstate transportation of stolen funds, the Lawrence Journal-World (http://bit.ly/2cLqNxB ) reported.
Farmer resigned from Just Food and his elected seat on the Lawrence City Commission in August 2015 after it was revealed that he had not paid more than $50,000 in federal and state payroll taxes on behalf of the nonprofit Lawrence food agency. At the time, he said the taxes weren’t paid because of an oversight.
Under Lawrence’s form of government, the office of mayor is a rotating seat, and the person chosen serves a one-year term. The mayor chairs meetings and is authorized to sign certain documents but otherwise has no day-to-day administrative duties.
Through his plea, Farmer admitted to changing Just Food’s financial documents to conceal his embezzlement. The charge lists the amount stolen as more than $5,000, while estimates from Just Food have placed that number closer to $55,000.
Farmer, who now lives in Kansas City, Kansas, will remain free on bond while awaiting sentencing, which hasn’t been scheduled. He could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
The newspaper reported neither Farmer nor his attorney, John Cowles, would comment on the case Wednesday.
Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com