Former Craighead County Clerk Pleads Guilty to Embezzling $1.5M


Former Craighead County Clerk Pleads Guilty to Embezzling $1.5M
Kade Holliday (Craighead County Sheriff's Office)

Former Craighead County Clerk Jacob “Kade” Holliday pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing more than $1.5 million in county money.

Holliday, 33, of Jonesboro, will be sentenced at a later date by U.S. District Judge James M. Moody Jr.

Holliday resigned from office in June 2020 after allegations surfaced that he had embezzled money from taxpayers. The bank that managed the clerk’s office account flagged suspicious activity, and auditors discovered $1.58 million had been moved to Holliday’s personal banking accounts, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney for Arkansas' Eastern District.

Holliday was elected as the state’s youngest county clerk in 2012. In 2016, Arkansas Business recognized him in its annual 20 In Their 20s feature.

After his arrest, Holliday told investigators that he took the money to fund his restaurants and coffee shops in Jonesboro: Holliday Development & Management LLC and Total Healthcare LLC. Holliday said he planned to pay the money back. But the COVID-19 pandemic caused most of his businesses to close, so he couldn’t.

Holliday’s method to steal the money was to make a transfer from the county account to one of his personal accounts and then get a cashier’s check from his personal account for the same amount, the news release said. He pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud for his first fraudulent transfer of $101,783 on Jan. 29, 2020.

Holliday had faced 11 counts of wire fraud, but the remaining charges were dismissed as part of the plea agreement. Holliday also agreed to pay $1.58 million in restitution to Craighead County.

The maximum penalty for wire fraud is not more than 20 years of imprisonment, a fine of not more than $250,000, and not more than three years of supervised release.

In addition to taking money from taxpayers, Holliday also took nearly $14,000 from the Northeast Arkansas Leadership Business Council, a nonprofit where he was the treasurer. He pleaded guilty in November to forgery and was sentenced to 10 years in state prison. The NALBC, which was formed in November 2019, had planned to use the money for underprivileged school children.

Holliday also filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation in October 2020, listing $3.8 million in debts and $1.6 million in assets. His bankruptcy remains open.


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