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September 05, 2015
BREAKING NEWS: Kilby indicted on 60 counts
by Blake Spurney
Sep 05, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A Rabun County grand jury handed up a 60-count indictment late Wednesday against Lowanda "Peanut" Kilby, former director of the defunct Boggs Mountain Humane Shelter.

The indictment alleges that Kilby committed 29 separate acts of computer theft and theft by taking, along with single counts of theft by deception and a violation of the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The indictments relate to alleged fraud and theft for her handling of donations in the s Lucky Dog/Lucky Kitty program.

Rabun County grand jurors on Wednesday heard evidence that had been compiled against Kilby during the past 14 months.

Former board member Kirk Knous testified before grand jurors about 25 minutes. The indictment was returned after about five minutes of deliberations late Wednesday afternoon.

Kilby turned herself in Wednesday evening at the Rabun County Detention Center. She was released after posting $100,000 bond.

A conviction under the RICO statute carries by itself a prison sentence of 5-20 years. Convictions for felony theft by taking and computer theft carry sentences of up to 15 years on each count.

Assistant District Attorney Maggie Hastings said the theft by deception charge was based on the allegation that Kilby accepted donations on behalf of the shelter by deceitful means. Specifically, she is accused of procuring donations under the fraudulent claim that Boggs Mountain was a no-kill shelter and that the animals in question would not be put down. The investigation turned up about two dozen animals that were put down even though donations were solicited on their behalf.

Names of animals listed in the indictment include: Georgie, Buddy, Brady, Tug, Tank, Red, Spot, Jake, Ginger, Denver, Toshie, Kelly, Dixie, Roger, Nora, Spike, Boss, Lola, Oreo, Sally, Pookie, Brownie, Thor, Jenny, Molly, Tuxedo, Jersey and Bart. Of those animals, Hastings said 16 were dogs, the rest being cats.

"This is the largest investigation by the district attorney's office that I've ever seen," Hastings said. "We spent countless hours talking to witnesses, talking to victims."

The services of a forensics accountant with IAG Forensics also were used in reviewing banking records. Don Page, an investigator with the district attorney's office, subpoenaed banking records and witnesses.

"He has made numerous charts and diagrams, and this investigation would not be anywhere without his help," Hastings said about Page.

Each allegation of computer theft is a felony regardless of the amount involved. The indictment alleges that Kilby used computers and a network to take donations intended for the shelter through PayPal, and that money was transferred into her personal accounts. Each allegation of theft by taking also is a felony regardless of the amount because Kilby was a fiduciary working on behalf of the shelter in soliciting the donations.

The RICO count alleges that Kilby unlawfully acquired $3,035 worth of Boggs Mountain property through a pattern of racketeering activity. Four counts of felony theft are listed as underlying offenses relating to the alleged racketeering.

Hastings said the state was alleging that Kilby took more than $10,000 that was intended for animal adoptions.

"We do feel awful for all the dogs that were euthanized when people were told the dogs were adopted, and especially for people who received emails after the dogs had been euthanized saying that their dogs had been adopted," she said.

More than 50 witnesses are listed in the indictment. Hastings said she didn't know if all would be called to testify at trial. Some live as far away as Texas and Michigan.

"At this time, no one else is being charged," she added. "The state is leaving that open."

Problems with the shelter's Lucky Dog/Lucky Kitty program surfaced in July 2012. The next month, Kilby and Penny Burkitt, executive director of the shelter, both resigned.

District Attorney Brian Rickman acknowledged that many people had shown an interest in how the lengthy investigation was progressing. He also said those involved were extremely limited in what they could say, but he added that people would get a sense of the effort put into the investigation based on the grand jury's action.

"I hope people appreciate that when you're working on an investigation, you can't have a monthly press conference because you're wanting to protect the integrity on what you're working on," he said.