Former insurance agent who pleaded guilty in govt corruption kickback scheme wants plea vacated

Ken Nowlin wants guilty plea vacated
Nowlin went to jail for conspiracy with former supervisor

By Paul P. Quinn
The Oxford Enterprise

Insurance agent Ken Nowlin, who pleaded guilty nearly three years ago to a kickback scheme involving insurance contracts with Lafayette County and former Lafayette County Supervisor Gary Massey, is now trying to get his guilty plea vacated, claiming ineffective assistance of counsel.

Nowlin pleaded guilty in July 2007 to a conspiracy charge related to his insurance dealings with Massey. In September 2007, Massey also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and two counts of public corruption.

Prior to being elected supervisor in 1995, Massey had been the county’s insurance agent of record. Once elected to the board, he could not legally profit off insurance contracts with the county. However, federal prosecutors said that Massey helped Nowlin get his old job as insurance agent in exchange for Nowlin secretly agreeing to pay Massey half the commission from the county contract and disguise the payments as “consulting fees” which amounted to approximately $827,000 over time.

One lawyer familiar with the case said he doubts Nowlin’s claims. To be true, he said, the government, Farese, the state auditor’s office, Morgan and others would have had to be in on a conspiracy against Nowlin. “I just don’t buy that,” the attorney said.

The Oxford Enterprise