Former Lander sheriff gets jail time for stealing funds |

Former Lander sheriff gets jail time for stealing funds

Associated Press

RENO (AP) — Former Lander County Sheriff Michael Kranovich faces a year and a half in federal prison followed by three years on probation for embezzling money targeted for fighting drugs.

“When public officials take public funds for their own use, it’s very serious,” U.S. District Senior Judge Edward C. Reed told Kranovich at Tuesday’s sentencing.

The judge also ordered Kranovich to pay $12,500 in restitution and perform 100 hours of community service.

Kranovich said he plans to appeal. Reed said the former sheriff would not have to serve his sentence until the appeal is resolved.

“I’m relieved to be getting this behind us so we can rebuild and start a new life,” he said as he left the courtroom with his wife and daughter.

Kranovich was Carlin police chief for eight years before he was elected Lander sheriff in 1998. He was indicted in July for taking Federal Equitable Forfeiture Sharing Funds for his personal use.

The fund collects money from drug seizures and is used by local law enforcement agencies to fight drugs. The money can be used for overtime and equipment.

A federal jury found Kranovich guilty of one count of theft from a program receiving federal funds and one count of theft of government property.

“This is the ultimate abuse of a position of power or trust,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald Rachow told the judge before sentencing.

Kranovich’s lawyer, Fred Atcheson, argued Kranovich deserved a lenient sentence because he did not sneak into an office and steal the funds, but used money that had been entrusted to him.

He also said prison would be hard on Kranovich because of his poor health. He is almost deaf, has diabetes and high blood pressure, and recently had a kidney removed when a cancerous tumor was found, Atcheson said.