Embezzlement trial rescheduled for August

Published 9:28 am Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A Roan Mountain woman accused of embezzling more than $300,000 from a local attorney’s office is now scheduled to stand trial in August following a court appearance on Friday.

Emilee E. Howard, 32, of Roan Mountain, appeared in Carter County Criminal Court on Friday before Judge Stacy Street for a status update in her case. Howard stands charged with one count of theft over $250,000; two counts of theft over $10,000; and one count of theft over $1,000.

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After conferring with Howard’s attorney Gene Scott and the District Attorney’s office, Street set a motion hearing date in the case for May 18, and set the trial to begin on August 7. The trial is anticipated to last three days.

Howard had been scheduled to stand trial in December, but that trial date was postponed following a request by District Attorney General Tony Clark. On Nov. 27, Clark filed a motion in Carter County Criminal Court asking for a continuance in the case, citing a number of reasons.

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 Scott. Clark said in the motion he had a meeting scheduled with Crockett to obtain that information and would provide a copy to Scott after he received the information.

Also, Clark said in the motion, 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, would 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 was under the care of a physician and is facing medical procedures that could impact their ability to appear before the court for the scheduled trial date beginning on Dec. 13.

During a court hearing on the motion for a continuance, Street granted the request by Clark and set the case for a status hearing on Jan. 12.

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 working for Crockett as an administrative assistant, 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 on September 1, 2016, 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.