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meetNKY treasurer pleads guilty to three felony charges; admits to sending $4M overseas

Bridget Ann Johnson pleaded guilty to three felony charges in connection with the embezzlement of more than four million dollars from the NKY Convention and Visitors Bureau, also known as meetNKY.


Kenton Circuit Judge Patricia Summe then found Johnson guilty of Complicity to Theft (>$1,000,000), Abuse of Public Trust (>$100,000) and Unlawful Access to a Computer 1st Degree.

Johnson, of Cincinnati, admitted that between May 1, 2017, and October 3, 2018, she used her position as finance director to fraudulently access her employer’s online bank accounts causing the bank to send dozens of checks, totaling $4,049,421.14, to individuals who had no legitimate claim to the funds.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders said those persons then kept a cut of the money before wiring the bulk of the funds on to overseas bank accounts. Sanders told the judge the money trail “went cold in China where investigators were no longer able to track the bank transfers.”

Sanders told the court Johnson “never received a penny from the theft but she continued to send the stolen funds to scam artists in hopes of recovering approximately a quarter-million dollars worth of her own money she’d already lost.”

”Until Ms. Johnson started taking tax dollars from her employer, she was the largest individual victim of theft I’ve ever seen, but now she’s the largest thief.”


Covington Police Detective Eric Higgins began an investigation into missing meetNKY funds after the agency’s banking institution alerted the executive director to unusual on-line banking activity. The investigation revealed Johnson had been altering banking records for over a year to hide fraudulent transactions from her boss and the agency’s board of directors.

Johnson would eventually tell the detective she met a man on “Match.com” and believed they were romantically involved despite never having met the man in person. Before long, the man, who claimed to live in Ft. Thomas but traveling on business, began asking her to wire money so he could return home and see her.

Sanders said the case is a sad but monumental example of what goes wrong any time someone sends funds to a person they’ve never met.

“It’s a scam. It’s always a scam. There’s no legitimate reason to send money to anyone you’ve never even met it person. It will always end bad.”

MeetNKY is funded by taxes on hotel rooms in Boone, Kenton, and Campbell Counties. It is not affiliated with the NKY Convention Center.

Johnson faces a maximum possible sentence of 50 years in prison on all charges. Formal, final sentencing is scheduled for December 12 at 1:30 p.m. in Courtroom 6A.

Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney

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