FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - At the Franklin County Sheriff's Office, the mantra is "Do what's right." It's something Sheriff Pat Melton reminds his deputies of constantly. He's proud of his office and the people he works with.
"The sheriff's office puts its trust in our employees," he said, but Sheriff Melton went on to say that a former deputy abused that trust.
"I can't control the decisions other people make but I can assure you, as sheriff, I'm always going to do the right thing."
In December of 2012, it was time to take those words and put them into actions of his own.
"I had requested an audit of some of our drug money," the Sheriff elaborated, "We have checks and balances in place to keep track of what's spent, what's purchased on drugs."
Some red flags started to come up, "The math didn't add up."
While an audit is not a fun thing to go through the sheriff said he knew it was the necessary thing to do. So, Sheriff Melton called the Kentucky State Police to begin looking into the discrepancies. Later the FBI was called to join in the investigation.
"We flat opened up every record we had, every file, they had unprecedented access to this office," explained the sheriff.
The results, Melton said, led to a former narcotics detective, Matt Brown.
"This had been an employee that had been here under the last two administrations," he described of Brown's status in the office.
Melton went on to say about the time the audit began, Brown resigned from the Sheriff's Office. Now, the former deputy is facing federal indictments for embezzlement and trafficking steroids in Franklin, Fayette, and Jessamine Counties.
"He made some very poor decisions," offered Sheriff Melton.
According to court records, Brown took more than $1,500 that was intended for narcotics investigations and instead used it to pay his personal bills. The indictment also claimed that Brown used the Sheriff's Office funds to buy items for his personal business.
It also listed multiple instances where Brown did not report the full amount of money and items seized during drug raids. Instead, it said that Brown pocketed the money, a watch, and even a diamond ring that he later sold back for $800 to the person he took it from. There were also instances of Brown keeping prepaid cards. The total added up over $25,000, and when factored in to the steroid sales the indictment estimated the total over $35,000.
Sheriff Melton said, while disappointing to learn of the abuse, he's glad he called for the audit. "It shows that we found it, we caught, and we addressed it."
Brown was arrested by the FBI on March 7th, and plead not guilty at his arraignment on March 10th. He's currently on home detention and subject to location monitoring by the US Probation office. His pretrial hearing is currently set for May 13th.