Former REACH director facing problems at current job

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The former director of the now-defunct Cannon County after-school program has been placed on administrative leave by her current employer.

The action against Angela Hale-Scott by the Westbrook Towers Affording Housing Corporation came about after residents at the Murfreesboro facility became concerned about the security of their personal information after reading in the Cannon Courier about Hale-Scott's criminal history.

Hale-Scott, who was known as Angela King when she operated the REACH After-school program, was convicted in 2012 of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from the program.

Westbrook Towers is a 230-unit, Section 8 assisted living facility located on North Walnut St. in Murfreesboro.

The charges and conviction against Hale-Scott came following a special audit by the Tennessee Comptroller's Office and an investigation by the TBI. She was placed on probation for five years and ordered to pay restitution.

However, Hale-Scott said in a recent phone call to the Courier she did nothing illegal while she was REACH director and implied someone else was responsible for stealing the money.

Apparently Hale-Scott has been able to convince the executive director of Westbrook Towers she was wrongfully prosecuted and convicted, even though she pleaded guilty to the charges.

Executive Director L. Thomas Rowe, in a letter to Westbrook Towers residents -- some of whom have contacted the Courier concerned that Hale-Scott might use her position there as property manager to embezzle money from them -- wrote:

"I stand behind Angela today as I have always done. I feel she has proven she has corrected any wrong she may have done or was wrongfully accused of doing. She has worked with MHA for over four years and I have always found her to be truthful and trustworthy. I feel everyone deserves a second chance and I hope you will see that as well."

While Rowe writes in his letter Hale-Scott was "wrongfully accused" by the state, she has to date presented no evidence of such to a Cannon Cunty court or requested her conviction be overturned.

Rowe did, however, write in his message to Westbrook Towers residence that, "As of today, Angela has been placed on administrative leave, Melissa Martin be the Interim Property Manager of the Towers during this interim period, and Gina Davis will continue as the Assistant. If you have concerns or questions, please no not hesitate to contact the office with your concerns.

In December, Circuit Court Judge David Bragg granted a motion to waive restitution made by Hale-Scott, which he had ordered her to pay in 2012 as part of her sentence.

At that time Bragg placed Hale-Scott on state probation for five years and ordered her to pay restitution to Cannon County in the amount of $26,170 for theft over $10,000.

Bragg's order signed on Dec. 7 states, "that upon final payment of the court costs associated with this case, as well as payment of $1,000, said amount representing the insurance deductible paid by Cannon County related to their loss incurred as a result of this case, the Defendant's (Hale-Scott) probation shall terminated."

Bragg's order also read, "that upon termination of the Defendant's probation, the restitution owing is converted to a civil judgment in the amount of $63,779.42, minus any amounts previously paid either through the Cannon County Circuit Court Clerk's Office, or the Bankruptcy Trustee."

The order also states, "that the Defendant agrees that a lien is hereby created against her and any property she may subsequently obtain, through which full satisfaction of any remaining restitution amount owing may be recovered" and "that if the restitution owing has been included in any bankruptcy proceedings, that Defendant agrees to make all payments thereon until properly discharged from the bankruptcy proceedings."

Court records show that Hale-Scott paid the $1,000 for the insurance deductible on Dec. 18 and the $674.50 in court costs on Jan. 4.

Court records also show that of the $26,110 in restitution Hale-Scott was originally ordered to pay when she was convicted in 2012, she ended up paying only $2,226.

In total it appears Hale-Scott's crimes cost various government agencies and the county's insurance provider over $125,000. The investigation by TBI and the Comptroller's Office found she took for personal use or made in question expenditures over $63,779.42. The insurance company paid out $36,259 to the county. The Comptroller's Office charged the county $25,170 to perform the investigation.

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