Thursday, August 13, 2015

Outstanding Debt: fines, fees Part 3

Offenders owe $16.2 million in restitution
Susan Lynn Hoard pleaded guilty in 2000 for stealing almost $1 million in client trust accounts held by a Knoxville law firm where she worked. She spent the money on elaborate dresses, a swimming pool and a convertible.

Then-Criminal Court Judge Mary Beth Leibowitz sentenced the former secretary to 18 months in prison and ordered her to pay back more than $600,000.

Records, however, show that she’s returned about $14,500 – only 2.4 percent of the overall bill since then – and hasn’t cut a check to the victims in almost two years.

And, she’s not the only one who has fallen behind – or not made – restitution payments.

There are hundreds and hundreds of criminals convicted in the Knox County court system that owe some amount of compensation. In fact, records show that victims are due a combined $16.2 million in restitution, a figure that dates back to 1998.

Sometimes the offenders have ripped off their own company. Other times, they’ve stolen from strangers, even family and friends. They might have written a check that bounced or burglarized a house.

In some cases, the criminals have taken cars, clothes, jewelry or cash. Often times, they’ve vandalized someone’s property.

Either way, there’s roughly a hundred convicted criminals alone that owe tens of thousands of dollars each to area residents and businesses, and local leaders are growing concerned that the money – as the debts get older and older – is getting harder and harder to collect.

So concerned are they, that the Knox County Criminal Court Clerk’s Office is looking to hire a new debt collector, which officials in the office hope to have in place by Nov. 1.

What happens next is anyone’s guess.

For the rest of the story, including lists of those who owe, slideshows and more, click RIGHT HERE.

No comments: