FLORENCE, KY. - Attorney John G. Arnett bilked clients out of about $700,000 and used it for gambling at Hollywood Casino, the Boone County Sheriff's Office said Monday.
"Somebody would get a settlement that he was entrusted with and he ended up going to the casino and gambling it away," said sheriff's spokesperson Tom Scheben.
A civil case attorney, Arnett, 67, of Union, Ky., stole from clients over a 13-year period and forged court documents and bank statements in an effort to conceal his crime, the sheriff's office said. He would take money from one client to pay another.
Arnett currently owes clients about $350,000.
The case came to light on Dec. 9, 2013 when Arnett could not disburse $82,389.62 that was supposed to be in escrow to a divorcing couple, and Judge Linda Rae Bramlage of the Boone County Family Court sent him to jail for contempt of court.
"That raises eyebrows," Scheben said. "How many other clients did he do this to?"
Since then, investigators located additional victims with the possibility there are still more undiscovered, the sheriff's office said.
Arnett faces five counts of theft by unlawful taking (over $10,000) and three counts of forgery 2nd degree.
If convicted on all counts, Arnett faces up to 65 years in prison.
Theft by unlawful taking is punishable by 5-10 years in prison and forgery 2nd degree is punishable by 1-5 years.
Arnett is held in the Boone County Detention Center on $100,000 cash bond. His arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday.