Morehead’s former tourism director, indicted in September for embezzling nearly $75,000 from a sister organization she also headed, pleaded guilty Thursday to a reduced charge.
Terri C. Alderman, 48, of Wallingford, was originally charged with theft by unlawful taking in an amount greater than $10,000, a Class C felony that carries a prison sentence of five to 10 years.
On Thursday, Alderman pleaded guilty in Rowan Circuit Court to theft by unlawful taking in an amount less than $10,000, which is a Class D felony that carries a one- to five-year sentence.
Under the terms of her plea agreement, Alderman agreed to accept a five-year sentence, according to a report in The Morehead News. She also must pay back the money she took.
Judge Beth Maze scheduled Alderman’s sentencing for June 7.
Alderman’s indictment was the result of a three-month probe by Kentucky State Police launched after officials with the Morehead Tourism Commission and Morehead Tomorrow Inc., the two organizations Alderman previously directed, discovered the missing funds.
Alderman resigned on June 20 after being confronted about the missing money. She had been Morehead Tomorrow’s executive director since 2003 and tourism director since 2006.
Alderman took $74,212 in cash from Morehead Tomorrow — a nonprofit downtown improvement organization — during an eight-year period beginning in 2004, according to court records.
Following Alderman’s indictment, Morehead Mayor David Perkins, Morehead Tomorrow board chairman Robin Mirus and tourism chairman Keith Kappes issued a joint statement in which said they intended to recover all of the missing money and expected Alderman to be held fully accountable by the judicial system.
“Morehead Tomorrow Inc. will continue to enhance downtown Morehead by sponsoring successful events like the Arts and Eats festival and Hometown Holiday and to improve the downtown environment with physical changes such as the Streetscape projects on Main and First streets,” the statement said.
The statement also said no tourism funds were found to be missing.
KENNETH HART can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2654.