Athens Metropolitan Housing Authority’s former director has been sentenced to prison for embezzlement

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — The former executive director of an Athens agency that helps low-income people with housing pleaded guilty Tuesday to embezzling more than $1.5 million from the organization.

A sign in large writing reads Hope Drive Apartments.
[Theo Peck-Suzuki | WOUB/Report for America]
Jodi K. Rickard was sentenced to eight to 12 years in prison for seven felony charges.

She owes her former employer, Athens Metropolitan Housing Authority, over $2.3 million in restitution.

As part of Rickard’s plea agreement, she agreed to forfeit her interest in a house in Albany she owns with her husband and 50% of the amounts in all joint bank accounts she holds. This will be applied to the money she owes the Housing Authority.

Rickard allegedly used the money she embezzled to pay off her mortgage, install an in-ground swimming pool at her home and take expensive vacations, among other things.

Rickard was placed on administrative leave in December after federal and state agents served search warrants at the office of the Housing Authority. Rickard was appointed executive director of the agency in January 2020. She previously had served as its finance director.

Assistant Athens County Prosecutor Meg Saunders told WOUB she is satisfied with the outcome.

“Rickard is actually getting a larger sentence than other people that have been in her nature of employment have gotten,” Saunders said. “This ensures that she serves at least five years in prison and also requires restitution.”

Rickard’s husband, Kevin, who was not charged in this case but benefited from the money his wife embezzled from the Athens Metropolitan Housing Authority, agreed to surrender his interest in the house and the joint bank accounts.

“He didn’t have to give up his forfeiture of the interest of his home or any of the personal property or bank accounts. He chose to do that to help offset restitution to (the Housing Authority),” Saunders said.

Defense attorney Robert Toy said Jodi Rickard has been very cooperative and told investigators where the money was and that the situation has brought huge consequences to herself and her family.