Former Lawrence mayor begins federal prison sentence

photo by: Nick Krug

Former Lawrence mayor Jeremy Farmer briefly leaves the Robert J. Dole Federal Courthouse before returning for his sentencing on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017 in Kansas City, Kan.

Former Lawrence mayor Jeremy Farmer reported to a federal prison this week, part of his punishment for stealing money from a food bank he led, according to federal officials.

Farmer is now at the Administrative U.S. Penitentiary Thomson, located in Thomson, Ill., according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

He began serving his federal sentence there on Tuesday, in the all-male facility’s adjacent minimum security camp, according to the bureau’s public affairs office.

Farmer’s sentence is 10 months in federal prison followed by two years of supervised release, plus $81,000 in restitution.

At his sentencing hearing on Aug. 15, Farmer requested to be assigned to a facility as close to the Kansas City area as possible, and the judge agreed to make that request. Farmer was not taken into custody after that hearing, but rather ordered to report to his assigned facility later as directed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Farmer was charged in August 2016 and pleaded guilty the following month to stealing money from Just Food. He 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 chosen by fellow commissioners to become mayor 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, Just Food board representatives alleged that a review 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.