The legal journey of Sherwood’s Kelli Hogue, formerly known as Kelli Cashion, came to an end this week as U.S. District Judge Lee Rudofsky sentenced her to 96 months in federal prison.
Hogue, 59, will be 67 when she completes her prison time.
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While maybe not immediately familiar to some, Hogue’s troubles are well known in the legal community, of which she was a long-time member.
She had been a licensed attorney in the state before losing that license in 2001 after she was convicted of forgery.
Hogue bounced back and went to work as a clerk and paralegal for the Herrod Law Firm on Pike Avenue in North Little Rock. She also worked as a bookkeeper for the Runyan Sanitary Sewer District 211. That’s the non-profit that owns and operates a sewage plant for the North Little Rock Water Department.
There she embezzled money. Lots of money.
In a press release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas wrote that Hogue wrote some 180 “unauthorized checks” to herself for $669,599.71.
The release said Hogue “wrote checks payable to herself from the Runyan bank account and deposited them into accounts she controlled, and she hid these checks by making false entries in QuickBooks, where they appeared as business expenses.”
She also filed a disability claim with the Social Security Administration and said she was no longer able to work for the law firm or Runyan when, in fact, she was still working for both.
Hogue “stole approximately $120,523 in Social Security disability payments” as a result of that scheme.
She pleaded guilty in August 2021 and in preparation for the sentencing, Hogue then submitted four letters of support in her request for a reduced sentence but that was also a hoax as federal investigators said the names were forged by her and “all four people said they did not write the letters in support.”
Rudofsky revoked her pre-sentencing release and was placed back into custody.
It, somehow, gets worse.
At the sentencing hearing, she told the court she had already repaid the disability payments and the money from the embezzled checks, which she had, for a total of nearly $800,000 in payments.
But, huge but, she had gotten the cash from “falsifying her federal tax returns” where she had received over $4 million in fraudulent returns.
That Internal Revenue Service investigation is still ongoing.
“This defendant has spent years defrauding her employer as well as the government out of hundreds of thousands of dollars,” U.S. Attorney Jonathan D. Ross said in the release. “Her brazen theft is an injustice to those who pay into the system as well as those who truly need its assistance, and today’s sentence indicates the seriousness of her greed-fueled crimes.”
After she’s released from prison, Hogue has been ordered to serve five years of supervised releases and also pay a fine of $100,000.
No word on when Netflix will option this for a movie or a limited series, but it seems reasonable given the cinematic scope of Hogue’s misdeeds.