Prosecutors add forgery charge for former Craighead County Clerk accused of theft

Updated: Jul. 27, 2020 at 10:23 AM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Prosecutors are seeking an additional charge of forgery against a former Craighead County Clerk arrested earlier this year on suspicion of theft and abuse of office.

According to a court filing on Arkansas Court Connect, a Forgery-I charge was filed Sept. 16 against Kade Holliday, who is accused of stealing more than $1 million.

The court filing did not provide much details as to what the new charge covers, but did provide a timeline.

“The said defendant in the WESTERN District of CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, did unlawfully and feloniously on or about October 1, 2019, with purpose to defraud, draw, make, complete, alter, counterfeit, possess or utter a written instrument that purported to be or is calculated to become or to represent if completed the act of a person who did not authorize that act, thereby committing the offense or FORGERY I,” the filing noted.

State investigators arrested Holliday on June 29 on suspicion of 13 counts of theft of property exceeding $1 million and one count of abuse of office.

On Monday, July 27, a judge continued his pre-trial date until Oct. 29-30 with his trial scheduled form Nov. 9-20. The court cited the ongoing “global pandemic” as a reason for postponing the trial date.

Holliday is currently free on bond. Stipulations of his bond included:

  • ordered to surrender his passport
  • wear an ankle monitor
  • have no contact with any county employees or financial institution
  • cannot enter the Craighead County Courthouse or Annex
  • surrender all firearms that will be held until the case concludes
  • report weekly to a probation officer

District Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington announced Holliday’s arrest on June 29:

“This morning, officers from the Arkansas State Police and Craighead County Sheriff’s Department arrested Craighead County Clerk Kade Holliday. I have instructed my deputies to immediately file felony theft charges against him. Chief Deputy Prosecutor Grant DeProw will file a Felony Information charging multiple counts of Theft of Property in excess of $25,000 and one count of Abuse of Office, all of which are Class B felonies. He will also file a petition asking the Circuit Court to remove Holliday from office today.”

According to a news release, Ellington received an “urgent phone call” Thursday, June 25, to meet with County Judge Marvin Day and auditors with the Division of Legislative Audit.

The auditors, he said, had obtained and examined bank records that raised suspicion of theft of county funds from an account Holliday maintained in his official capacity as county clerk.

Ellington and Day then met with the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division which opened an investigation leading to Holliday’s arrest.

County Judge Marvin Day stated in a news release the investigation revealed that Holliday “personally received monies in excess of $1 million since January 2020.”

In a petition for suspension from office, Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Grant DeProw alleged Holliday had transferred money from a county bank account into his personal account.

The online court documents state the prosecutor’s office is charging Holliday with 13 counts of theft of property greater than $25,000. The alleged thefts occurred on Jan. 23 and 29; Feb. 12 and 26; March 11 and 24; April 8 and 21; May 5 and 6; and June 3, 16, and 24.

He is also charged with abuse of office greater than $25,000. The online court records accused Holliday of transferring funds “otherwise designated for county payroll obligations and retirement contributions.”

A lawsuit was also filed by Craighead County seeking a minimum of $1.4 million in damages, as well as a temporary restraining order against Holliday.

According to court documents, Holliday is “the official bookkeeper of county government and handles the payroll for all county employees.”

The motion would prohibit Holliday from being able to handle any county finances until the conclusion of the investigation.

Circuit Judge Richard Lusby approved a partial consent judgment and order Sept. 10 in the case.

Holliday agreed to repay the county more than $1.4 million that officials allege he stole.

According to online court documents, Holliday will pay $1,415,304.79 to the county, plus $35,082.99 in interest. Holliday will also have to pay $21,025.74 in attorney’s fees and costs for the county.

Court documents stated county officials and the Office of Legislative Audit discovered multiple transfers from a county payroll account, including dozens of transfers to the Holliday’s personal accounts. The unauthorized transfers allegedly began on or about January 23, 2020 and continued until June 25th. The lawsuit claims at least 13 transfers were made during that time to both Holliday’s personal bank account and Holliday Development and Management, LLC. To look at the complete lawsuit click here, include specific numbers on the transfer amounts.

McDaniel Wolff and Benca PLLC, a law firm representing Holliday, issued a statement on the situation Monday afternoon.

“Mr. Holliday is proud of his years of public service. He is committed to cooperating with this ongoing investigation. Given the seriousness of the allegations, he tendered his resignation this afternoon from the Office of Craighead County Clerk, effective immediately,” Mr. Benca said.

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