A Forsyth County man will spend half a year in federal prison in connection with the theft of more than $30,000 of government funds.
According to a report from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the northern district of Georgia, 44-year-old Kenneth Welch was sentenced Wednesday to six months in prison and six months of home confinement. That will be followed by three years of supervised release.
Welch, a former contracting officer with fiscal responsibility for the U.S. Postal Service, also was ordered to pay $32,577 in restitution and perform 80 hours of community service.
The report shows that Welch pleaded guilty in November to the federal charges.
In a statement, U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates noted that “citizens assume that government workers, particularly those who have direct responsibility for government money, will be diligent and honest with every taxpayer dollar.”
“In this economy, we can least afford to have someone in a position of trust wildly spending taxpayer money on golf carts and boat motors,” she said.
“This money belongs to the government and to the people, and those who do not safeguard it will no longer work for the government or walk in freedom with the people.”
According to the report, Welch reportedly used government-issued credit cards to buy more than $19,000 in luxury gifts, including a golf cart and boat motor, for himself and his family between April and December 2010.
The report goes on to show that from August to December 2010, Welch created fraudulent contracts and paid his personal business for services the company did not complete.
“Welch took money left unused on other valid contracts that was to pay for the completion of construction work at the Decatur Main Post Office in Decatur … and the Warner Robins Post Office,” the report shows.
“As a contracting officer, Welch’s responsibility was to properly reapply any funds left over on valid contracts. Instead, Welch simply paid portions of those remaining funds to himself, taking more than $13,000 in public money.”