HAZARD — A former Perry County Drug Court director was indicted on Friday for allegations that she embezzled from a fund set up to help drug addicts go to rehabilitation.
In February 2012, unsubstantiated reports began to leak out that Teresa Huff, who at the time was director of the Perry County Drug Court, had stolen money from a fund that she controlled as treasurer for the Perry Count UNITE Coalition. It was shortly thereafter that Huff resigned.
On Friday, Huff, 54, of Cornettsville, was indicted on 10 charges stemming from these allegations. The current indictments come from charges made by the state police, however, Perry County Commonwealth’s Attorney Theresa Reed said that it is possible more charges could be pending at a federal level.
According to the indictment, returned by the grand jury in Perry County, Huff has been charged with abuse of public trust, eight counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, and theft by unlawful taking over $10,000. The indictments state that these offenses took place from February 2010 to February 2012.
On four separate occasions, the indictment states, Huff wrote checks to herself from the Perry County UNITE Coalition for $2,000. Twice she was alleged to have written checks from this same account for $908, once for $500 and once for $1,300.
All total, the indictment alleges that Huff stole $11,616.
Reed said that Huff was charged with possession of a forged instrument instead of forgery because it could be impossible to prove who actually wrote the check.
“The person may be on tape with the check in their hand at the bank trying to cash it, but that is possession,” said Reed. “To try to prove that somebody actually signed somebody else’s name is really hard. You have to get into hand writing analysis.”
Because of how closely members of the Perry County court system have worked with Huff over the last five years, both Reed and Circuit Judge Bill Engle have recused themselves from working on this case.
“I have requested a special prosecutor,” said Reed. “The way that works is that I write a letter to the attorney general’s office requesting a special prosecutor, and then the attorney general appoints someone.”
It will be about a week before Reed finds out who will be working on this case, though it is believed that the circuit court judge from Floyd County, Judge John David Caudill, could be presiding over the case.
Reed said that if Huff were to be found guilty and receive the maximum sentence on all charges, she could be facing up to 20 years in prison.
This case is especially difficult for many of the people that worked with and knew Huff through drug court, because of how much good they say she was able to do for the clients of drug court.
“It is very difficult because I believe in drug court, and this of course puts drug court in a bad light,” said Reed. “I have seen Teresa Huff help people and be a positive influence, and she is a friend.”
Since the initial reports of embezzlement, Judge Engle has vowed that drug court will continue.