LAWRENCE, Kan. — A former Lawrence mayor charged with stealing money from his old job as executive director at a food pantry plans to change his plea.
Jeremy Farmer notified the court of his plans Tuesday after pleading not guilty last week to one charge of interstate travel of embezzled funds, The Lawrence Journal-World (http://bit.ly/2cTW8Rh ) reports. Defense attorney John Cowles had said last week that Farmer intended to plead guilty but wanted more time to consider his options.
Prosecutors say Farmer, who was hired as executive director of Just Food in 2011, embezzled money from the nonprofit Lawrence food agency beginning in 2013 and ending in 2015. He is accused of taking more than $55,000 in funds and adjusting financial statements to hide the thefts. The missing money prompted a large fundraising effort.
Farmer resigned from Just Food and his elected seat on the Lawrence City Commission in August 2015 after it was revealed that he had not paid more than $50,000 in federal and state payroll taxes on behalf of Just Food. At the time he said the taxes weren’t paid because of an oversight. Under Lawrence’s form of government, the office of mayor is a rotating seat, and the person chosen serves a one-year term. The mayor chairs meetings and is authorized to sign certain documents but otherwise has no day-to-day administrative duties.
A new hearing has been scheduled for Sept. 28 for Farmer, who now lives in Kansas City, Kansas, and is free on bond. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com