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Salyersville Independent

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Former SWW superintendent arrested on theft, fraud charges

GUNLOCK – Law enforcement served a bench warrant on a man indicted earlier this month for allegedly stealing a large sum of money from Salyersville Water Works during a period of time he worked there.

Just after 1 a.m. on Wednesday, December 15, Steven Shawn Rowe, 44, of Trace Fork, in Gunlock, was arrested by Kentucky State Police Trooper R. Hale on Trace Fork, though he was released on a $5,000 cash bond later that same morning.

On December 2, after hearing evidence from a special prosecutor from Floyd County, a Magoffin County grand jury indicted Rowe with one count of theft by unlawful taking or disposition (Class C felony); two counts of theft by deception (Class D felonies); one count of second-degree forgery (Class D felony); and one count of fraudulent insurance acts (Class D felony). According to the indictment, on or about August 2014 through August 2019, Rowe allegedly took money from Salyersville Water Works, where he was employed at the time, in an amount in excess of $20,000. The indictment also accuses Rowe of obtaining money from Salyersville Water Works as compensation for work he did not perform on two separate days in August 2015, totaling $2,350.88. He is also accused of signing the name of another person to a continuing disability claim form for AFLAC Insurance, as well as presenting written information in support of a claim for payment, knowing his statement contained false information and the claim resulted in him receiving $2,310 as a result of the fraudulent submission.

The Commonwealth requested a warrant for Rowe at the time of the indictment, but a motion hour in the case had been scheduled for December 16 at 10 a.m., in which his attorney was expected to ask the judge to recall the bench warrant. With the arrest being made in the case prior to the hearing, Rowe is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges at 10 a.m. on December 16, with this issue of the Independent going to press on December 15.

The charges against Rowe, who is the former superintendent of SWW, reportedly came from an investigation after Salyersville Mayor James “Pete” Shepherd took office, when the city took over oversight of Salyersville Water Works and hired an outside company to get the water district back in the black. When money couldn’t be accounted for, the investigation was turned over to Kentucky State Police’s forensic auditors, resulting in this case.

Rowe worked for SWW for a total of 23 years, just four years shy of being able to retire, serving as superintendent from 2012 until his resignation in 2019.

Editor’s Note: The indictment or charge of a person by a grand jury or otherwise is an accusation only and that person is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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