The mayor of Mount Carmel, Tennessee, was indicted by a grand jury for allegedly embezzling $394,000 from his grandmother's estate in the final year of her life. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation began investigating Chris Jones after his family members filed a lawsuit, accusing him of taking advantage of her declining mental health.
The lawsuit, which was filed in West Virginia, claimed that Marceline Carpenter suffered from dementia and was not competent when she agreed to give Jones power of attorney. The lawsuit claimed the Jones abused the power of attorney and used it to enrich himself. A judge set a trial date for 2017, but Jones did not show up.
The judge ordered him to pay his mother and two uncles a total of $571,569, which included $393,939 in compensatory damages, $131,313 in punitive damage, $6,200 to cover attorney fees, and $40,117 in pre-judgment interest. Jones tried to contest the ruling, arguing that it was not valid in Tennessee. In March 2019, a judge ruled that the judgment was valid and that Jones must pay his family.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation launched an investigation into the matter and presented the case to a grand jury, which indicted Jones on a charge of theft over $250,000, which is a Class A felony. Officials said that they have jurisdiction over the case because while the theft occurred in West Virginia, Jones deposited the money into a bank account in Tennessee.
He was taken into custody and is being held on a $300,000 bond in Hawkins County Jail. If convicted, Jones faces between 15 and 25 years behind bars.