TORRINGTON – Former Goshen County District Court Clerk Kathi Rickard appeared in court for the first time yesterday to begin the process of answering to six felony theft charges relating to her time as an elected official.
Rickard stands accused of stealing a large sum of money while serving in her elected position as court clerk – enough that the county was forced to pay $120,217.65 just to keep the affected accounts current. During the hearing, Judge Randall Arp - in what could be his final bench appearance before retiring – listed six offenses between January 2016 and December 2018 where investigators from the Division of Criminal Investigation believe she stole amounts of money from WyUser accounts and a Quickbooks account that she was responsible for maintaining. The amount ranged from $6,100 to more than $58,000.
Each of Rickard’s six felony theft charges carries a potential penalty of 10 years in prison, a fine of $10,000, or both. Goshen County is also seeking restitution for the funds.
Cole Sherard, attorney for the defense, and prosecutor Spencer Allred of Lincoln County, both told Arp they felt it would be appropriate for Rickard to be released on her own recognizance. Rickard has numerous health issues, including several life-threatening conditions related to a heart issue, and Sherard told the court that her issues might be more than the Goshen County Detention Center could handle.
“We would like to make a joint recommendation for an OR bond,” Allred said. “The defendant has no criminal history and has strong ties to the community. She is not a danger or a flight risk.”
Both sides, as well as Arp, agreed that Rickard should be allowed to leave the state for medical treatment.
“We would like to echo these comments,” Sherard said during his turn at the lectern. “She has been in and out of the hospital recovering.”
Instead of issuing an OR bond, which is typically reserved for low-level misdemeanor cases, Arp decided to hand down a $150,000 unsecured bond. The unsecured bond allowed Rickard to leave the court house without any money changing hands, Arp said, but carries a steep penalty if Rickard were to violate her bond. In that event, she would be arrested and responsible for paying the sum.
“I don’t do normally do unsecured bonds,” Arp said. “In my 20 years on the bench, I have done it maybe one or two times.”
Arp also ordered Rickard to report to the Goshen County Detention Center to complete the booking process.
Charging documents were filed in the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court, but were unavailable at press time.