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Police say former Clark Co. Sheriff used nonprofit funds to pay child support

Former Sheriff Jamey Noel, Attorney Larry Wilder and Prosecutor Richard Hertle in a Clark County, Indiana courtroom.
Giselle Rhodan
/
LPM
Indiana State Police served a new warrant in late December in the ongoing criminal case against former Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel.

New court documents detail accusations that Jamey Noel used nonprofit funds to pay support for a child he fathered with a county council member.

Indiana State Police served a 24th warrant in late December at the home of former Republican Clark County Council member Brittney Ferree, as part of the ongoing criminal investigation of the former Clark County Sheriff.

Police arrested Noel Nov. 8. He was charged with 15 felonies including corrupt business influence, theft and ghost employment, months after state police served initial warrants in the case.

Investigators have since served new batches of warrants, including one in mid-December in which they seized a small plane.

Accusations against Noel include that he moved cars through the nonprofit Utica Township Volunteer Firefighters Association, also known as New Chapel EMS, for his own gain. Police also say he used sheriff’s office employees to work on his personal properties while being paid by the county, and that he and his associates kept government surplus equipment given to the sheriff’s office.

The latest known warrant was served Dec. 28 at Ferree’s Sellersburg home. She was elected to the Clark County Council in 2018, the same year Noel was elected to a second term as sheriff. Court records show Noel and Ferree had a child together in 2019. Noel is responsible for paying Ferree child support.

As part of the investigation started in June 2023, state police talked with Clark County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Mark Grube. Court records show he told investigators he had received an unconfirmed tip that Noel had given Ferree a white BMW owned by Utica/New Chapel.

Police say the title history of the white 2015 BMW shows it as registered to Ferree, and that records show she bought it Jan. 23, 2023 for $21,000 from Noel. At the time of sale, it was listed as owned by Utica/New Chapel.

Investigators reviewed bank information for Noel, his wife and daughter, and Utica/New Chapel and were unable to find record of a $21,000 check for the vehicle.

Investigators also reviewed documents from the Indiana Child Support Bureau related to Noel’s child support history, which they say shows he made many of the payments from Utica/New Chapel funds.

They say he did not claim the support payments on the nonprofit payroll or related tax documents, which would be required. They say he provided more than $25,000 annually in child support.

In late December, investigators reviewed a WAVE 3 News article, which indicated the Noel family previously gave $500 to Ferree’s election campaign, along with other Republican county candidates in Clark and Floyd counties.

Police investigators attempted to verify this and found that Kasey Noel, Jamey Noel’s daughter, was listed as having donated to Ferree. Campaign finance reports reviewed by LPM News show Kasey Noel donated $500 to Ferree’s campaign in 2018. Noel himself is not listed as donating.

According to police, Noel deposited, withdrew and wired funds from his daughter’s account on multiple occasions.

Police say in the latest court documents, as in some others, that the multiple versions of names of the business entities appear to be an attempt at “layering” on Noel’s part. This is done to make tracking funds through a particular business more difficult.

“There is evidence of complex layering schemes involving sending money to different accounts using a series of transactions,” court records read, in part. “These patterns were consistent in the bank records for Utica Township Volunteer Fire Fighter Association, New Chapel EMS & Fire, Jamey Noel, Misty Noel, Kasey Noel, and the Clark County Sheriffs Department Commissary Fund.”

LPM previously reported Noel is accused of using the jail’s commissary funds to pay former Scott County Sheriff Kenny Hughbanks for consulting work.

As part of the Dec. 28 warrant, investigators were looking for information on vehicle sales, gifts and purchases from any businesses associated with Noel, his wife and daughter, Utica/New Chapel and the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. They also sought bank information and electronic devices belonging to Ferree. Ferree is not facing charges.

Noel was released on bond in November and has a pretrial conference Jan. 16 with a trial scheduled for May.

Coverage of Southern Indiana is funded, in part, by Samtec Inc., the Hazel & Walter T. Bales Foundation, and the Caesars Foundation of Floyd County.

Aprile Rickert is LPM's Southern Indiana reporter. Email Aprile at arickert@lpm.org.