Jeff Thurmond

A former Franklin County Highway supervisor was sentenced to 120 days shock time in the Franklin County Jail as part of his guilty plea to three felony counts of stealing county funds.

At a hearing Tuesday afternoon Presiding Judge Gael Wood accepted the deal made between Jeff Thurmond and Prosecuting Attorney Bob Parks, closing the book on a yearlong case.

Under the deal, Thurmond will surrender himself Friday, Oct. 6. He will be eligible for work release if he has proof of employment. In that case he will serve 120 consecutive days during the evening Mondays through Fridays and during the entire weekend.

“You are not a kid doing something impulsive,” Judge Wood said to Thurmond. “This is something you have done for many years.

“This is a punishment for you and a message to others,” Judge Wood added.

Thurmond was represented by attorney Rodney McKinney, Union.

“I am standing in front of you now as a man responsible for what I did,” Thurmond stated.

At a hearing Aug. 29, Thurmond pleaded guilty to one felony count of fraudulent use of a credit card.

As part of the deal, Thurmond has already paid back $13,000 in restitution to the county and after serving 120 days of shock time in the county jail, he could then serve the rest of his sentence at home under supervision.

He would have the felony convictions on his record.

Parks said the reason he only asked for 120 days was because Thurmond paid the restitution, but because he stole from the county he couldn’t get away with just a slap on the wrist.

Thurmond was originally charged with two felony counts of forgery and one felony count of fraudulent use of a credit card.

An investigation conducted with the help of the county auditor showed he padded highway projects to make personal purchases with the county credit card.

Most of the purchases were for small dollar amounts, but there were hundreds of receipts over the years of 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Thurmond made the illegal purchases from Lowe’s stores in Washington and Sullivan and Dickey Bub in Union.

The most expensive item was a $278 granite sink.

There also is a possibility Thurmond used the county credit cards to purchase election supplies when he was running for Second District commissioner last summer.

Receipts were found for plywood, paints, stencils and rollers.

Thurmond told the auditor the highway department sometimes makes its own homemade street signs.

Charges

Thurmond was charged with the felonies in January after a lengthy investigation by the Missouri Highway Patrol that was initiated last September.

According to the probable cause statement filed by the patrol, Thurmond used a Lowe’s credit card to purchase more than $12,000 in personal items over a three-year period. The charges represent purchases made in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

He allegedly padded credit card purchases for highway department projects and then purchased materials and tools he used for improvements to his home.

Thurmond admitted to purchasing the items, which were recovered from his home, police said.

He was terminated in September after 30 years of employment by the county. He most recently was the eastern district highway supervisor.