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New Jamey Noel warrant alleges relationship with Clark County chief deputy auditor

Jamey Noel.
Clark County Sheriff's Office
New court records in the criminal investigation of former Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel allege a relationship with a county auditor's office employee

The latest search warrant in the criminal investigation of former Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel reveals an alleged relationship with a county employee tasked with financial oversight.

New court records show text messages and an alleged relationship between former Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel and an employee in the county auditor’s office.

Noel has been under investigation by Indiana State Police since last June and is currently facing 25 felony charges including theft, tax evasion and ghost employment. His wife and one of his daughters are also charged.

State police secured the 53rd search warrant in the case Thursday, allowing them to search the phone of Clark County Chief Deputy Auditor Jessica Huffman.

Investigators say they found messages between Huffman and Noel while searching one of his phones this week, which had been seized last August.

Court records show an exchange between the two related to Bradley Kramer, a former sheriff’s office employee Noel is related to by marriage. LPM News reported in January accusations that Noel altered documents to get Kramer a police pension he wasn’t entitled to, which they say Kramer knowingly submitted.

Court records show Kramer was a jail officer with the department when Noel took office in January 2015. Noel promoted him to matron in 2018, which made him eligible for the department’s pension program. But police say Noel altered the documents to make it appear that Kramer was promoted in 2015 — which would have made him eligible for an eight-year pension at 20% when Noel left office at the end of 2022.

The latest warrant shows that in April, Kramer told police he was a jail officer from January 2014 to March 2018, when he was promoted to merit deputy, which includes the matron position.

Records show Kramer attended the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in 2019, and in 2020 was promoted to detective.

Kramer told police Noel had “repeatedly told him he had backdated the matron promotion,” court records show. He said he was shown documents indicating he was promoted to matron Jan. 1, 2015, the day Noel took office. Kramer said the handwriting wasn’t his and his address was incorrect.

Police found text messages between Huffman and Noel on Huffman’s phone. In the text thread, Huffman shared an email from Clark County Sheriff’s Office Col. Mark Grube; he sent it to her, asking for information about when the matron position was created and who was paid in the role from 2015 to 2018.

In the text thread on Noel’s phone, police found that Huffman, the chief deputy auditor, had sent him an email from Grube from June 5, 2023. Grube was asking for information on who was paid in the matron position from 2015 to 2018. That was the timeframe of the alleged altered documents.

Grube had sent the email a few days after current Sheriff Scottie Maples contacted state police after discovering “many unnerving and possible criminal activities” related to Noel. Noel was sheriff for two terms from 2015 to 2022. Maples took office in the next year.

When investigators asked why Huffman shared the email with Noel, she told them she was “conducting her own inquiry and wanted to see what Mr. Noel’s reaction would be,” records show.

Huffman gave consent for police to search this particular text thread with Noel, which police say appeared to indicate a three-year relationship between the two. The thread included mentions of tickets to a Cincinnati Reds game, drinks at a Jeffersonville bar and further discussion of Kramer’s promotion.

Police also said there was an “ongoing exchange of information” between Noel and Huffman about the state police and Indiana State Board of Accounts investigation up to October of last year.

In an email Thursday afternoon, attorney Jennifer Culotta told LPM News Huffman declined to comment.

Neither Huffman nor Kramer are charged with any crimes.

Huffman told police that other than this text thread, Noel had communicated with her on other phone numbers and apps past October 2023.

An audit released by the state board of accounts in February shows Noel is responsible for paying back more than $900,000 in jail commissary funds and state investigation costs.

A second audit by the agency related to the investigation released this week put Noel and his family on the hook for repaying more than $4 million in funds taken from the Utica Township Volunteer Firefighters Association, also known as New Chapel EMS. Noel operated the fire and EMS nonprofit until January of this year.

New Chapel is also the current EMS provider for all of Clark and most of Floyd County, though the Floyd County contract expires at the end of this month. According to this week’s audit, New Chapel received more than $3.8 million in public funds from Clark and Floyd counties between 2019 and 2023.

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.

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