Trial postponed in embezzlement case

Published 5:27 pm Friday, December 1, 2017

A trial for a Roan Mountain woman accused of embezzling more than $300,000 from a local attorney’s office scheduled for later this month has been postponed following a request by the District Attorney’s Office.

Emilee E. Howard, 32, of 108 Roby Miller Road, Roan Mountain, was scheduled to stand trial on Dec. 13-15 on charges of one count of theft over $250,000; two counts of theft over $10,000; and one count of theft over $1,000.

On Nov. 27, District Attorney General Tony Clark filed a motion in Carter County Criminal Court asking for a continuance in the case. In the motion, Clark said the alleged victim in the case, attorney David Crockett, has information that had not yet been provided to the District Attorney’s office or to Howard’s attorney Gene Scott. Clark said in the motion he had a meeting scheduled with Crockett on Nov. 29 to obtain that information and would provide a copy to Scott after he received the information.

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In the motion, Clark said while the District Attorney’s Office had provided Scott a copy of the case file against Howard, the State “has not obtained reciprocal discovery from the defense.” Clark said an order for discovery, including reciprocal discovery, will be filed in the case to allow the State access to information in possession of the defense and to allow further review of the State’s evidence.

As the third reason listed for requesting a continuance in the case, Clark said the prosecutor assigned to the case is currently under the care of a physician and is facing medical procedures that could impact their ability to appear before the court for the currently scheduled trial date beginning on Dec. 13.

During a court hearing on Thursday regarding Clark’s request, Criminal Court Judge Stacy Street granted the motion and set the case for a status hearing on Jan. 12, 2018. No new trial date has been set at this time.

The charges against Howard stem from an investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation along with assistance from the Elizabethton Police Department following a request from Clark.

During the investigation, the TBI said its agents discovered that Howard, who was an administrative assistant for Elizabethton attorney David Crockett, was responsible for stealing more than $300,000 from the law office over a period of five years beginning in 2010. She is no longer an employee of Crockett’s law firm.

According to the indictments against Howard handed down by the Carter County Grand Jury, Howard is accused of taking more than $250,000 out of an account at a local credit union belonging to Crockett and also withdrawing more than $10,000 from one of Crockett’s accounts at another area bank. The indictment further alleges that Howard made unauthorized charges to two credit cards belonging to Crockett — more than $10,000 on one card and more than $1,000 on the second.

At a court appearance in the case in April, Scott asked the court to continue the case with another plea deadline citing a desire by his client to try to reach an agreement with the District Attorney’s Office. If an agreement was not reached, Scott said the case could then be set for trial. In response, Street said he would set the case for trial and if an agreement was reached in the case it could be brought up at that time.