The former treasurer of the Cumberland County Rescue Squad who four years ago was charged with stealing thousands of dollars from that non-profit agency was jailed last week after it was revealed to a judge that he had not paid a penny toward restitution in over a year.
Jody Lee Parsons, 39, whose address at the time of his arrest was listed as Potter Rd., was ordered to serve 90 days in jail by Criminal Court Judge David Patterson who told the defendant he was, "trying to get your attention." Patterson promised Parsons he would be sent to prison to serve his four-year sentence if he continues to fail to pay restitution.
In January of 2007 Parsons was arrested on a single-count indictment charging the theft of more than $34,823.09 in the rescue squad's funds. At the time, Parsons as secretary had full control of the group's checkbook with no oversight.
When the funds were discovered missing, the Tennessee Comptroller's Office conducted an investigative audit for the period of July 1, 2003 to Dec. 21, 2006.
Auditors discovered that at least $26,700 in cash was collected from various fundraisers on behalf of the rescue squad and turned over to Parsons, but that money never made it to the bank.
The audit further found that $1,500 was withdrawn from a reserve fund with no documentation to show why, and $989.48 in squad funds was used to pay Parson's personal credit card bill.
A bonding company covered the loss and the rescue squad was never out the missing money. That bonding company has been trying to collect the stolen funds ever since.
Parsons was indicted in January 2007 for the theft and later pleaded guilty to stealing the funds. He received a four-year suspended sentence with terms of probation including payment of restitution.
On June 10 a probation violation hearing was held because Parsons had not paid any restitution in well over a year, and according to state Probation Officer Danny Williams, only about $1,000 in restitution has been paid over the past four years.
Reportedly Parsons did pay $3,200 in court costs.
Judge Patterson questioned Parsons about having a job and Parsons said he had been working for about 11 months. Patterson asked if he owned any property and Parsons said he owned about five acres on Potter Rd. that he had been trying to sell without success.
"What is the court supposed to do?" Patterson asked Parsons. "You have the ability to pay and have not. Why should you be given more time ... you are going to jail."
Patterson ordered the 90-day jail sentence and that Parsons then be released under the condition that he start making restitution payments of $200 per month. Probation is also extended another two years or until the money owed the bonding company is paid in full.
"The court is trying to get your attention ... or you will be back serving the four years," Patterson said.