The mayor of a Tennessee town is behind bars, where he could remain for the next 25 years. Mount Carmel's Chris Jones was arrested Monday, days after he was indicted on charges of stealing nearly $400,000 from his grandmother, who suffered from dementia in the year before she died. Previously, Jones was ordered by a court to pay $571,569—$394,000 in compensatory damages plus punitive damages, lawyer fees, and interest—to his mother and uncles. They sued Jones after accusing him of stealing the money from Marceline Carpenter during her stay in a West Virginia assisted care center, reports the Times-News.
The 48-year-old has now been charged with theft over $250,000, which carries a sentence of up to 25 years. He allegedly penned checks to himself from Carpenter's account while she was in an unfit state, reports WJHL. A local district attorney said the indictment resulted from "an almost year-long investigation" by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Tennessee got involved because Jones deposited the money in a bank there. The mayor, who won in a landslide in 2016, per the Kingsport Times-News, is now booked into Hawkins County Jail on a $300,000 bond. (Read more theft stories.)