Former Lawrence mayor to be sentenced in August for stealing from charity he led

Former Lawrence Mayor Jeremy Farmer enters the Frank Carlson Federal Building on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016, in Topeka. Farmer was appearing on a charge of embezzling funds during his time as the executive director of Just Food.

A federal court has set a sentencing date for ex-Lawrence Mayor Jeremy Farmer, who was convicted of stealing money from a food bank he formerly led.

Farmer is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 15 in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., according to an order filed this week by the judge in the case, Carlos Murguia.

Farmer’s sentencing date falls just over a year after he was charged, in August 2016. The following month Farmer pleaded guilty to interstate transportation of embezzled funds and securities, a felony, according to the plea agreement filed in federal court.

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, according to the plea agreement.

Farmer could face up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release.

In exchange for Farmer’s guilty plea, the U.S. Attorney’s Office agreed to recommend a sentence at the low end of the guidelines, according to the plea agreement. Prosecutors also agreed not to file additional charges against Farmer arising from facts of the present case.

Ultimately the judge will determine Farmer’s sentence.

Farmer was hired as executive director of Just Food in 2011. Voters elected Farmer to the Lawrence City Commission in April 2013, and fellow commissioners unanimously voted him to become 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.