An old friend of JJ received a get out of jail free card although he is still a jailbird. The Mississippi Parole Board granted parole to disgraced attorney Vann Leonard last year. He embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from clients several years ago. However, his crimes are considered to be "non-violent" and thus he qualifies for parole after serving 25% of his sentence.
Vann Leonard achieved particular notoriety on the pages of this website back in 2011 and 2012. He literally stole from widows and orphans while also embezzling from other clients. The feds busted him for embezzling $327,585 in a bankruptcy case. Earlier post on conviction. He pleaded guilty in 2011 to one count of embezzlement and was sentenced to serve 37 months in prison. Earlier post on case. However, he did not have to report to prison for several months and wasted no time in getting into more trouble.
Rankin County Chancellor John Grant threw him in jail for contempt after Leonard could not account for
$111,925 he withdrew from the Downing estate. Earlier post on Leonard contempt. (It's a rather entertaining post.) More embezzlement cases appeared. Leonard stole the life insurance policy meant for a mother and her children when her husband unexpectedly died. Earlier post on theft of life insurance policy.
A grand jury indicted him for four counts of embezzlement. Prosecutors dropped one count and Leonard pleaded guilty to the other three counts. Attorney Joe "Plea Bargain" Holloman represented Leonard. Circuit Judge John Emfinger sentenced him to serve 20 years in prison on June 10, 2012. He also has to pay restitution of $481,417 to victims:
Bobbie Downing estate: $111,925
Darrell Varner: $10,000
Edward Williamson: $83,556
Kimberly Thomas: $61,742
Hitesha Desai: $214,192
Judge Emfinger ordered Leonard to serve his prison sentences concurrently with his other setnences. He also ordered Leonard to serve probation for five years on one count. The defendant was given credit for already serving 381 days in jail thanks to his little escaped in chancery court.
Federal sentences? Yes, "sentences" is plural. The Feds convicted him of one count of mail fraud and two counts of wire fraud on April 20, 2012. U.S. District Judge Dan Jordan, III sentenced him to serve 41 months in prison and to serve the sentence concurrently with his other federal prison sentence.
Leonard was released on November 14, 2016 after serving 35% of his sentence. However, he transferred to federal custody on that day and began serving the remainder of his sentence at the Montgomery prison at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. The Bureau of Prison website states he will be released on November 4, 2019.
Kingfish note: Remember this case the next time the do-gooders whine about locking up "non-violent" offenders and prison reform. Mr. Leonard was non-violent, all right. He was very peaceful, amenable even, while he stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from his victims while wearing a coat and tie and bragging about the good ole days with Bear Bryant.
The do-gooders should go explain to the widow and her children why someone like Leonard should only serve 25% of his sentence. They should also ask her if she feels violated even though he wasn't violent towards her.
The state and federal convictions are posted below.