A former Kent City council member pleaded guilty today to seven counts of first-degree theft and mortgage fraud for stealing nearly $300,000 from his mother’s bank account to shore up his failing business and fund vacations.
Kenneth D. Sharp, 67, could face more than 3 1/2 years in prison when he is sentenced June 20. However, prosecutors said they will drop some of the charges and amend their recommendations depending on how much restitution he has paid by then.
Prosecutors said they will recommend a sentence of 22 months in prison if he has repaid more than $200,000 to the estate of his 95-year-old mother, or a sentence of 29 months if he has repaid more than $100,000, court documents show.
According to charging documents, Kenneth D. Sharp transferred $297,500 from his mother’s account to his own between August 2010 and August 2011 and also took out a reverse mortgage for $475,000 on his mother’s Tacoma home using fraudulent information.
Sharp used the money to maintain his failing printing business as well as to purchase a $12,000 diamond ring for his third wife and to go on trips to Mazatlan, Mexico, Dubai and Johannesburg, South Africa, prosecutors said.
Sharp’s sisters, who reported the theft, told police their mother owned her home free and clear and had liquid assets of over $220,000 when she had a stroke in 2008, charging documents said.
At first, she lived in an assisted-living facility, but her son failed to keep up with the payments there. Now, prosecutors say, Sharp’s mother has approximately $20,000 in assets left and lives in a “Medicaid-funded facility.”
Sharp was running for election when he was charged with the thefts in August 2013. He was elected, but resigned just two weeks into his first term because of what he described as pending legal issues.