Ex-UK physics official gets probation for embezzlement

A former employee in the University of Kentucky physics and astronomy department who admitted defrauding the school of more than $200,000 will serve no jail time, a judge said Friday.

Instead, Steven Ellis, 67, was sentenced to four years’ probation by U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves.

Probation “is sufficient punishment in this case,” Reeves said.

Ellis, a former U.S. Army Ranger and a former physics professor at West Point, stood in court and apologized.

“I have disappointed and hurt the ones I love the most: my wife, two daughters and five grandchildren,” he said. “I will work the rest of my life to try to regain trust and my honor.”

Ellis has made full restitution to the university of $299,603.15, which includes $137,662.80 in embezzled money plus $161,940.35 for a refund of royalties and the cost of an audit, according to court records.

Reeves imposed a $5,000 fine on Ellis, which he may pay in increments of $100 a month over…

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