Even after he’s released from prison, former Lawrence mayor Jeremy Farmer faces years of financial consequences for his conviction of embezzling money from a Lawrence charity.
Farmer was sentenced Aug. 15 for stealing money from the Lawrence food bank he once led, Just Food. He was ordered to pay more than $81,000 in restitution and serve 10 months in federal prison followed by two years of supervised release.
The final judgment in his case, filed this week in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., details the court’s stipulations for Farmer to pay the restitution, as well as other related penalties he will face.
According to the judgment:
• Farmer must pay a total of $81,446.57 in restitution. Of that, $76,446.57 will go to Just Food and $5,000 to West Bend Mutual Insurance.
• Farmer will not have to pay interest on the hefty sum. The court waived the interest requirement in his case.
• While in prison, he must pay at least 10 percent of any money deposited into his account at the facility.
• Starting a month after he gets out of prison, he must pay at least 5 percent of his monthly gross household income over a period of two years.
While on supervision, Farmer will be required to work at least 30 hours a week, unless excused from doing so by his probation officer, according to the judgment.
His supervision order includes some special conditions related to money, as well, according to the judgement.
He won’t be allowed to work at a job where he has “discretionary authority over financial matters” or incur new credit charges or open new lines of credit without approval from his probation officer. He also must provide the officer access to his financial information.
At Farmer’s sentencing hearing, defense attorney John Cowles told the court that Farmer was prepared to pay $1,000 that day toward the amount he would owe, “as a way of signifying his dedication toward paying restitution in this case.”
Cowles said that Farmer had been working full time prior to his sentencing, but he did not say where.
Just Food representatives have said they've worked hard to recover from the financial loss caused by Farmer without the restitution, which isn't likely to be paid in full anytime in the near future.
It’s not yet clear where Farmer will serve his prison time.
Farmer was not taken into custody after his sentencing hearing. Rather, he was ordered to report to prison when and where notified by U.S. Marshals. The judge agreed to recommend he be placed in a facility as close to Kansas City as possible.
U.S. District Court spokesman Jim Cross said the Federal Bureau of Prisons assigns report dates and facilities to inmates and that it’s not unusual for it to take weeks before convicts appear in the bureau’s online inmate list.
Farmer was charged in August 2016 and pleaded guilty the following month to interstate transportation of embezzled funds and securities, a felony, according to his plea agreement.
Farmer admitted to embezzling by fraud more than $5,000 from Just Food from 2013 until he resigned in August 2015, and concealing it by “adjusting” QuickBooks entries and financial statements provided to the Just Food board.
Farmer was hired as executive director of Just Food in 2011. He was elected to the Lawrence City Commission in April 2013, and fellow commissioners voted him mayor of Lawrence in April 2015.
Farmer resigned from Just Food on Aug. 10, 2015, and also resigned as the city’s mayor days later.
A month later, representatives of the Just Food board alleged that an examination of their financial records showed Farmer made unauthorized payments to himself of more than $52,000 in salary and benefits over a two-year period. The alleged overpayments were in addition to more than $61,000 in federal and state payroll taxes that went unpaid while Farmer served as the executive director, Just Food said.