Grand jury hands down 45-count indictment against Lovitt
A Whitley County Grand Jury indicted the suspended executive director of the Williamsburg Housing Authority Monday morning on 45 criminal charges related to a series of thefts from that governmental entity.
The Whitley County Grand Jury indicted James R. Lovitt, 52, of Williamsburg, charging him with 34 counts of second-degree forgery, eight counts of theft by deception under $500, two counts of theft by deception over $500, and abuse of public trust.
The abuse of public trust charge alleged that Lovitt used his authority from the housing authority to convert $9,493 for his own personal use.
Lovitt was charged with 12 counts of forgery from checks in 2017, 12 counts of forgery from checks in 2018, and 10 counts of forgery from checks in 2019, according to an analysis of the indictment.
All 34 forgery charges alleged that Lovitt unlawfully signed the name of John Brown as co-maker of the check, and then endorsed the name of the payee on each check, according to the indictments.
The 10 theft by deception charges involved forged checks cashed in amounts varying from $120 to $1,000 between March 21, 2019, and Sept. 25, 2019.
Lovitt is free on a $50,000 third-party surety or signature bond. He is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 18 in Whitley Circuit Court.
In early August, Williamsburg police received a tip about the possibility of misappropriated federal funds from the housing authority and began an investigation.
A few days later, Williamsburg police developed enough information to obtain a search warrant for housing authority records, and have sent out subpoenas for several financial records, which they are still sorting through, Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird said previously.
“What we know right now that we see immediately that he has forged numerous checks in the names of individuals, who did not receive that money. Nor did they sign or cash any checks. Nor have they ever done any work for the housing authority,” Bird said.
“We also uncovered some manufactured receipts claiming that certain individuals did work for the housing authority when in fact they did not.”
On Aug. 23, the Williamsburg Housing Authority’s Board of Directors voted to suspended Lovitt with pay pending the outcome of a conclusive police investigation.
During a special called meeting on Sept. 11, the Williamsburg Housing Authority’s Board of Directors met in executive session for about 40 minutes before returning to regular session and voting to change Lovitt’s suspension from with pay to without pay.
Dora Mobley is currently serving as the interim executive director of the Williamsburg Housing Authority.