CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A former inspector with the West Virginia Lottery Commission implicated in the gambling and racketeering case against a former state delegate has been charged with lying to federal investigators.
On Wednesday, federal prosecutors filed a one-count information against Carolyn Ann Kitchen, charging her with lying to FBI and IRS agents in February 2008 about accepting money from "an individual known to the United States Attorney."
An information, as opposed to a grand jury indictment, cannot be filed without a defendant's permission, and generally indicates that he or she is cooperating with the government.
Last week, as he pleaded guilty to running an illegal gambling ring in West Virginia and Kentucky, former Logan County delegate Joe C. Ferrell admitted that he bribed Kitchen, whom he said he had known since she was a teenager.
Ferrell said he had helped her get her job with the Lottery Commission so that she would bend the rules for video lottery machines owned by his company Southern Amusement Co., the company that provided video lottery machines to bars and other venues.
"She was always around to do favors for us," Ferrell said of Kitchen. He said he periodically gave her money, including $2,000 in June 2007 when she wanted to buy a car, and meals and other gifts.
In exchange, she was expected to be immediately available if he needed access to sealed parts of the gambling machines, and provide favorable reports to the Lottery Commission, where she worked between 2004 and 2007, according to a stipulation of facts attached to Ferrell's plea agreement.
"At her core, Carolyn is truly a good person. Unfortunately, even good people make bad decisions," said her lawyer, Nick Preservati, on Friday. "From day one, she has accepted full responsibility for her actions. She has not made excuses or tried to blame others for her actions."
A spokeswoman for the Lottery Commission told The Associated Press last year that Kitchen had left the agency on her own.
Ferrell said Kitchen essentially was on-call for Southern Amusement, meaning that she would come and reset jammed machines -- sometimes provided access to their locked chambers that contain the software programming -- even after hours and on weekends.
Mark A. Cantrell, a Southern Amusement employee, faced similar charges to Kitchen's, including lying to investigators about removing money from machines, but backed out of his plea deal on the day of his hearing. Subsequently, federal prosecutors added him to the indictment against Ferrell. Cantrell now faces racketeering and gambling charges, as well as charges that he helped Ferrell pay another employee cash so that he could work and continue to collect Social Security benefits.
Kitchen's case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr., who also presided over Ferrell's case. A date has not been set for a plea hearing for Kitchen.
If convicted, Kitchen faces up to five years in prison.
Reach Andrew Clevenger at acleven...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.