Appeals court sends thief back to court for resentencing

A senior citizen who pleaded guilty to theft over $60,000 for zeroing-out a friend’s estate will return to Hamblen County Criminal Court for resentencing and reconsideration of the restitution ordered in the case, a state appeals court has ruled.

Criminal Court Judge John F. Dugger Jr. ordered Carl R. Greene to serve one year of a nine-year sentence in jail and the remainder on house arrest or in the probation-like community corrections program. Dugger also ordered Greene, who is in his late 70s, to pay approximately $83,500 in restitution.

The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals concluded that in ordering Greene to serve on year behind bars Dugger relied on facts that were not in evidence.

Dugger discounted Greene’s assertion that he could not remember how he spent the money because he was suffering from dementia. The judge also concluded that Greene had transferred the money to his children to avoid paying restitution.

In ordering Greene to pay restitution, the appeals court held, Dugger did not consider the senior citizen’s ability to pay or set up a payment schedule. After the estate was depleted, Greene had a monthly income $720 to pay $920 in expenses. His net worth was $400, according to the opinion.

District Attorney General Dan Armstrong said Wednesday he believes the appeals court decision is misguided.

“No. 1, I believe Judge Dugger is right and the court of criminal appeals is wrong,” Armstrong said. “Second, I absolutely believe that every victim is entitled to full restitution.”

The theft prosecution has an atypical fact set.

Greene, the defendant, assumed the role of administrator of the estate of Kyle Judge Greene, but they are not related, and the will designated Kyle Greene’s daughter as the executor of the estate. Carl Greene claimed that Kyle Greene told him that he should be executor of the estate in a deathbed declaration.

“He just assumed that authority,” Bob Ellis, a criminal investigator with the district attorney’s office was quoted as saying.

After estate expenses were cleared, the defendant exercised control of about $67,000 and collected about $16,000 rent on properties formerly owned by Kyle Greene with no other authority than the alleged deathbed declaration. Kyle Greene’s daughter, his lone heir, received nothing.

Dugger postponed Greene’s sentencing to try to get to the bottom of where the money went. When the accounting came due, Greene asserted he has dementia. His medical records, which were submitted as an exhibit, do not indicate Greene suffers from dementia, according to the opinion.