Monday, November 24, 2014

Ex-Trustee 'ghost' worker sentencing pushed to Friday the (Feb.) 13th

The so-called ghost-employee, who worked under ex-longtime Knox County Trustee Mike Lowe won't be sentenced until Friday, Feb. 13.

Delbert Morgan, who was paid to do little if any work, between March 2004 and March 2008 for the county's tax collections department, was found guilty in late August of felony theft.

He was supposed to be sentenced on Monday, but Knox County Criminal Court Judge Steven Sword agreed to postpone the hearing to give Morgan's attorneys time to get a copy of the initial trial's transcripts and review them.

During Monday's brief hearing, defense attorney Richard Gaines told the court that he "found something new" in the transcripts. He declined to say what exactly, but said his request to review the paperwork will focus on the opening and closing arguments.

Morgan's charge is punishable by eight to 12 years in prison. He also can receive probation. Prosecutor Bill Bright declined to say what the state will request.

The jury, after a two-week long trial, found the 58-year-old Grainger County businessman guilty of felony theft.

Morgan is the first of at least two other former Trustee's Office workers, including former long-time Trustee Mike Lowe, who prosecutors say swindled taxpayers out of possibly $1 million between 2004 and 2008.

Ray Mubarak, another employee accused of collecting a paycheck and not actually working, and Lowe will go to trial on April 6.

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