Friday, April 21, 2017

Vann Leonard paroled.

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.


Wow said...

Habitual criminal.

Likelihood seems low that he has been reformed.

How do Parole Boards work? I am pretty ignorant about the inter-workings. Are they a sound institution and a working piece of the justice system? Or, are these paroles pretty standard if you follow a certain protocol?

Anonymous said...

How much restitution has he paid and what is his future payment schedule and is he current? Will he go back to prison if he is not and does not stay current on payment schedule? Is this another example of an attorney getting preferential treatment, or is this pretty standard on this type case?

Anonymous said...

They are political appointees. Does that help?

Anonymous said...

Good for Vann.

Hope he can find a job and peace.

He served his time and should be left alone.

Kingfish said...

Have his victims been repaid? F him.

Anonymous said...

KF, don't you get it? He went to law school with these guys and played tennis at the country club. He sang in the church choir and never missed an SEC tailgate. He's a good guy who just made a mistake, so he should be reinstated as an attorney.

He's learned his lesson and lost a HUGE income. Hasn't he suffered enough? He plans to work for a non profit. Cut the guy some slack!

On top of it, Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe need a fourth for their Sunday golf game and the only way he can join the country club is to start billing clients again. Have a heart!

Oh, and the black dude that lives near Lynch Street who was arrested for possession of a bag of weed...send him to Parchman. ZERO TOLERANCE!!!

Soap on a rope said...

I hope he was somebody's bitch in the prison showers

Anonymous said...

Proud to be an attorney and ashamed of sacks of $h!+ like Vann. He should be required to participate in "real" public service for the rest of his sad life.

Anonymous said...

Attn 11:49. I agree with your (satirical) assessment of this "esteemed lawyer" with the exception of "the black dude" getting convicted for weed. The only person convicted in Hinds county lately has been Ben Allen. Which the judge had the good sense to basically throw out the wrongful conviction.

Anonymous said...

So is this the guy who stole from his clients that all those attorneys were advocating to get back in the bar?

If not, why is that guy different than this guy?

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen any evidence that VL is attempting to be reinstated to the Bar. Asking and receiving are two different things. He is unlikely to be readmitted. There is a guy down in Hattiesburg, a disbarred former atty., who did a lot less than VL and wasn't charged with a crime, but he has been trying to get reinstated for years to no avail.

Anonymous said...

@11:41 - Kingfish, those people will stand a whole lot better chance of being repaid if the guy is out working instead of sitting in a jail cell where we have to feed & clothe him and provide his medical and dental care for the duration of his tenure. I don't care HOW much money he stole, he is NOT violent so his being allowed to walk among us should not cause anybody and concern. He is not likely to EVER get a job that puts him in a position where he can defraud client again so that should not be a concern either. That leaves only two things to worry about: restitution for his victims and the cost to taxpayers for his continued incarceration. Put the man OUT, put his to work, garnish his wages for the rest of his life if necessary and earmark those funds for the restitution of his victims. THAT would be justice.

Anonymous said...

That a fairly routine sentencing for embezzlement, time served before release, and order for restitution which is not realistic.

The way I read this, he is still in prison, just now in FEDERAL prison.

As a retired prosecutor, I think that because he was an attorney and swindled his clients, his sentences should have been enhanced greatly. I knew him casually as he infrequently took criminal cases. He wasn't very effective and never tried a case I was involved with.

Kingfish said...

and people like you are why Mississippi is always in last place but leads in corruption. An excuse is made for everything. White collar crime proliferates and is rarely prosecuted. When caught, the perps are given a slap on the wrist and then people like you defend them.

These guys rarely scam people once but do it over and over.

He is disbarred by the way, and also can not seek reinstatement.

Anonymous said...

11:49 your word play on my comment from yesterday is entertaining, but I'm not sure it has much value in discussing rehabilitation. You turned my post into one about cronyism. The lawyer we discussed yesterday is not one I have ever had a drink with, seen at chhurch, hung our with at a country club with, played golf with or ever even met outside of losing to him in a courtroom like so many of his supporers have. I made the argument that under the circumstances a specific amount of punishment that is enough. I argued that his was enough and that he should be elible for reinstatement for a lot of specific reasons that occurred after his criminal conduct. Van Leonard on the other not applying for reinstatement to the bar. He did his time in jail and made his automatic parole date in mississippi, only to be released into Federal prison for the remainder of his Federal sentences. Van is different in that, he will never be eligible for reinstatement because he did not admit to his conduct, did not turn himself in, and did not make restitution. There are other factors the Courts and Bar and the law consider when deciding on how much punishment is enough. It sounds like you guys are arguing that no punishment is ever enough for someone who steals the retirement money of a little old lady or robs and orphan. So in other words death penalty for everyone who commits a crime? You want a system where there is no mitigating factor system. You sure about that? I bet if you were writing the laws you would write incentives in for good behavior after the criminal conduct has occured. No idea whether Van has been good or bad after the fact, but I am certain he will not ever be elible for reinstatement because he can't meet the mitigating factors. That is the difference and it has nothing to do with the good ole boy system.

Anonymous said...

He doesn't give a damn what y'all think.

He hid the money....and is headed to Mexico to live with hookers.

So keep writing nasty things about him.....he'll be doing nasty things too.

Anonymous said...

KF - get out of jail free? Slap on the wrist? That's what you call serving several years in jail and having another decade+ in paper time hanging over your head.

Anonymous said...

1:49 pm

Totally agree.

This webpage....this how Trump came to be in a way.

People who know nothing, avoided working to know anything about the topic, jump in and opine about what they know not.

End result is a cluster fuck.

Just like Trump.....knows nothing...can do nothing.....lives on hate....cluster fuck times a million.

Anonymous said...

" thanks to his little escaped in chancery court. "

"Escaped"? Maybe an escapade, in an Escalade?

Enquiring minds want to know.
"those people will stand a whole lot better chance of being repaid if the guy is out working instead of sitting in a jail cell where we have to feed & clothe him and provide his medical and dental care for the duration of his tenure."

That applies to just about every convict in custody. So, you're advocating letting all convicts out in the hope they make restitution, etc? You believe in Santa Claus too?
" It sounds like you guys are arguing that no punishment is ever enough for someone who steals the retirement money of a little old lady or robs and orphan."

Yes, that is correct. We try to protect widows and orphans in these part, not the lawyers who swindle and rob them. It sounds like you have chosen the other side.

Incidentally, 1:49: THIS is how we got Trump. Put crooks in jail. Hell, leave 'em there, I don't care, just get them out of society.

Anonymous said...

1:49 here. I was a Trump supporter. I thought he would clean up Washington, get rid of special interests and be strong on foreign policy. Not sure if I have buyer's remorse yet. Loving my 401k right about now though.

You say crooks should be locked up and leave them there. I say we should incentivize crooks to make changes while they are serving the time. Your way, we pay high taxes to give them free meals and a bed for life. My way, we make them work their ass back into society the hard way. Your way does not distinguish between crooks. Children stealing candy, teenagers stealing iphones, college students vandalizing property, young adults forging checks to get by, creepy mid life crisis child molesters and rapists, and even murderers. Lock them all up, you say. Give them all the same treatment. None are redeemable. There is no grey area. That's your right to have that opinion, but would you be so kind as to pay my share of the taxes to house all the nonviolent offenders that you want to leave in jail forever? Surely you don't mean all non violent offenders should be locked up forever. And nobody is arguing that all convicts should be let out on the hope that they will pay taxes. Some, through good conduct will pay their debt and prove worthy of regaining human status, and some won't.

Incarceration is meant to punish, dissuade others, and rehabilitate. If you want to get rid of the rehabilitation part, and you have that little faith in humans who have made grave mistakes can recover and re-enter society as productive tax paying citizens, I think you should run for office and propose a bill that all criminals should be locked up with the key thrown away. All of them. No matter what the circumstances. Don't distinguish between crimes, and for goodness sake do not give people any reason to behave in their cages. Make sure your faith in humanity is so low, you get the word rehabilitation erased from Webster's.

Anonymous said...

And over half these prior posters covet a black robe. God Almighty Help Us All!

Anonymous said...

I knew Van Leonard while he was still "practicing" law. He was never much of an attorney and pretended to be some great Christian to dupe naïve people. He stole most of the money not long before his incarceration and no one was ever able to track down what he did with it. He most likely hid the money, is biding his short jail time, and will then recover his rat-holed stolen fortune and live well. He also seems to lost about 300 pounds while in prison, based on his photograph. Scum of the earth.

Luther's Lexicon.. said...

"I say we should incentivize crooks to make changes while they are serving the time."

Do you realize how utterly meaningless that hope is? The only 'changes' a crook makes while in prison is learning a better way to be a crook.

If you pop a snake with a rolled-up wet towel are you 'incentivizing' it to not bite again?

Anonymous said...

It looks like the total he stole was about half a million dollars.

Even if he hid it and gets it when he gets released, it is not an
Astrological sum of money and it won't sustain him forever.

In other words it's not like the $$$ Epps probably has stashed.

Anonymous said...

You idiots act like time has healed your wounds toward Vann, really??? He was of sound mind and literally stole these people's money who had intrusted him with large amounts of money. No different than putting gun to their head. He has no family after these last 5 years they have lived in hell! They are have put him behind them and could care less about him. He's evil, being around him the devil might jump on you! Let him rott in that cell as long as they will keep him. Remember, he never told Judge Grant what he did with the money! Think about that all of you who think he should get out. Still believe he's hidden this money, he sure didn't spend it on his family!!!

Anonymous said...

Attn 10;35 How much is an "astrological amount of money?

Anonymous said...

I'm seeing that he'll be in federal prison until November, 2019. Right?

Anonymous said...

You can go to "federal prisoner locator" put in vann leonard and see he is in Montgomery Fed. prison with a scheduled release date of Nov. 4, 2019.

Anonymous said...

Idiot at 3:47 - "That applies to just about every convict in custody. So, you're advocating letting all convicts out in the hope they make restitution, etc? You believe in Santa Claus too?"

Please show me where I said "all convicts". Of course, I did NOT say "all convicts" so your ridiculous little diatribe is absolutely pointless. And I did not say we could "hope" that they make restitution. I SAID we'd garnishee wages. In other words, the court takes part of his paycheck before he gets the first DIME and sends it directly to the victim. Even if it never amounts to total restitution, it will be FAR more than the victim will get if the guy sits in jail - UNEMPLOYED - and living off taxpayers.

YOU, on the other hand, seem to be suggesting that EVERY person who has EVER been convicted of a crime should spend the rest of his life behind bars and that nothing less can EVER be enough - regardless of the fact that WE will have to buy every meal, every scrape of clothes, every aspirin, every dental checkup - EVERYTHING except cigarettes - for EVERY SINGLE PERSON who ever HAS or ever WILL commit a crime. REALLY?????

Bottom line - you just want to hate for the sake of hating. You aren't interested in justice or restitution. You are just interested in hating. Good luck with that. I'm SURE it will serve you well as you go through the rest of YOUR life.

Kingfish said...

That is in the post.

Anonymous said...

What does the post at 11:28 AM apply to? No way to tell.

Anonymous said...

Don't you have anything better to do? You're a loser attorney and need to get a better hobby.

Anonymous said...

We were Vann's neighbors just before his incarceration.

Always thought he had a screw loose. The first time we met him he told us he turned down Princeton to play football for Bear Bryant... This was just one of many lies.

I think he spent the early money he stole (hoping to pay it back before he got caught) and then when he couldn't I think he stole more and hid it for after his release.

Anonymous said...

I knew Vann as a friend,never as a client. He was just a big Doofus. He got me out of a speeding ticket once.I referred a few folks to him with everything from DUI to estate stuff. He screwed all of them. And his family....

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