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Fentress Writing Down Restitution Change In Crabtree Case

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Fentress Writing Down Restitution Change In Crabtree Case

Fentress County reducing fund balance by some $129,000 after a judge ordered restitution reduced for a former finance department employee convicted of stealing from the county.

A trial court found Kellye Crabtree guilty on multiple felony counts and ordered her to pay back some $156,000. A judge reduced that ruling to $27,000 based on Crabtree’s inability to pay. She is currently serving jail time. Fentress County Commissioner Kim Davidson said the judge made the decision and the county has to live with it.

“We are against this reduction,” Davidson said. “We do not think it’s fair to the citizens here. Her inability to pay should not matter. She should have thought of that when she took the money from people in Fentress County. So, again, like it said, this is out of our hands. We had no clue this was happening, nor did we have any say, because I feel certain nobody at this table would have agreed to it.”

Finance Director Tyler Arms said without writing the money off, the county would face an audit finding from the state. Arms said Crabtree has yet to payback any money, though ordered to do so by the judge who changed the restitution amount.

“If it shows that it’s owed in restitution, we have to put it on the books as a long term receivable, that it’ll come in across a long period of time,” Arms said. “Well, now that it’s reduced, we’ll not receive $156,000. Instead, we should receive $27,000. So we have to reduce that note by that much and reduce the fund balance about that much.”

The former accounts payable clerk stole at least $239,680 from the county between 2014 and 2018. Crabtree also misappropriated funds in her role as treasurer of the Kirby Johnson Memorial Ballpark.

In the original trial, court documents said the judge had “carefully considered” Crabtree’s resources, in ordering her to payback money.

County Mayor Jimmy Johnson said he asked if the county could appeal the recent judicial decision and the answer was no.


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