Indictment: Breathitt County Judge-Executive stole public funds for personal use

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The Breathitt County Judge-Executive Jeff Noble was indicted Monday morning by a grand jury.

The indictment accuses him of buying lumber with county money for private use.

On August 7, the Breathitt County Sheriff's Office received a complaint about lumber theft by the fiscal court.

"The individual talking to him asked him if it would get Judge Noble in trouble to which Judge Noble replied no I can write it off as if we used the lumber at the county garage," said Major Michael Wolfe.

Wolfe says in April, a person asked Noble to buy lumber to fix a bridge on private property.

Wolfe says after hearing about the investigation, Noble tried to cover his tracks.

"So it was only after our investigation revealed the wrongdoing that Mr. Noble made an attempt to return the lumber to a legitimate worksite owned by the county," said Wolfe.

The lumber was hidden in a barn. It never got to a county work site.

"Theft had occurred," said Wolfe. "It's too late, it's too late to return stolen property once you realized you've been caught."

Noble's attorney Derek Jorge Campbell released a statement to WYMT saying, "I've spent most of my life in the political realm in our region but in all my years I never thought I'd see the day that a political machine would pervert our justice system simply to beat down their political opponents."

Campbell claims the bridge is on county property.

The indictment is being talked about all over the county.

"It's, it's really embarrassing. It's really a bad embarrassing blemish on the county," said Breathitt County Museum Director Janie Griffith.

Griffith said she went to church with Noble and never expected this.

"I thought he was a good Christian man and it has really hurt so bad when you learn something like that on someone," said Griffith.

The judge set Noble's bond at $250,000.

Noble is on a pre-planned vacation with his family. He has been advised to turn himself in on his return.

Original Story
The Breathitt County Judge Executive is facing charges for using public funds for personal use.

On Monday, Judge-Executive Jeff Noble was indicted with one count of abuse of public trust, one count of theft by unlawful taking more than $500 but less than $10,000, and one count of official misconduct.

According to the indictment, Noble intentionally used $704.96 of public funds to buy lumber for personal use.

"The fact of the matter is that under the dictates of KRS Chapter 178 the bridge in question, in this case, is a county-owned property that must continue to be maintained as such," said Noble's attorney Derek Jorge Campbell. "Such points were made clear to the investigators in the Breathitt County Sheriff’s Office but seem to have fallen on deaf ears".

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