MAYSVILLE, Ky. -- The former director of a now defunct narcotics task force in Northern Kentucky pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges he stole public funds.
Before he was indicted by a federal grand jury this month, Tim Fegan was a sworn police officer and the director of the seven-county Buffalo Trace/Gateway Narcotics Task Force based in Maysville.
Now, he's a criminal defendant.
An I-Team investigation in January revealed Fegan, 52, was the only suspect in the disappearance of about $90,000 seized by his task force during drug investigations.
"He handled the money. He held the keys to the building. He did all the investigating. He was the evidence custodian. He was everybody," said forensic consultant Wayne Wallace.
According to Fegan’s indictment, he had “unrestricted access to (the) evidence room"…and he embezzled "approximately $98,000."
Six weeks after the I-Team's investigation, Fegan’s task force was shut down.
FBI Special Agent Ken Kirk was seated at the prosecution table when Fegan pleaded not guilty to charges of federal program fraud Thursday morning in Covington Federal Court.
U.S. District Judge Candace Smith appointed attorney Jon Alig as a public defender to represent Fegan because he could not afford an attorney.
Despite the three-count felony indictment, Fegan was never arrested. Instead, he was issued a summons and showed up in court for a first appearance.
The U.S. Attorney did require Fegan be jailed awaiting trial, and Judge Smith released Fegan on his own recognizance Thursday.
The conditions of his pre-trial release are:
- He cannot leave the eastern district of Kentucky.
- He must keep working.
- He must attend counseling for “anxiety from a shooting” in September of 2011.
- He can have no contact with potential witnesses or victims in this case.
- He may not possess a firearm.
Fegan faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and a fine of $250,000 if found guilty on any of the three counts against him. If convicted, he must also forfeit $98,000 for the money that went missing from his task force.
Fegan’s trial is set for Feb. 10.
According to a law enforcement source, the I-Team has learned Mason County is considering state theft charges against Fegan, independent of the federal case.
READ MORE: I-Team: Drug task force shutting down
READ THE ORIGINAL INVESTIGATION: I-Team: Policing for profit?
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38-time Emmy winner Brendan Keefe was named Best Reporter by the Ohio Associated Press in 2011, and Best Photographer in 2012 and 2013. He serves as Anchor and Chief Investigator for 9 On Your Side.
Jason Law joined 9 On Your Side in January 2013 as a investigative reporter with the I-Team.