Former Anderson County Commissioner Mike Cox pleaded guilty last month to charges that he stole over $60,000 from his Rocky Top church between June 2011 and December of 2014. The now 68-year-old Cox will be sentenced on July 24th, and according to the Oak Ridger newspaper, could face jail time.
The paper reports that Cox’s best interest plea, entered on June 1st, came with no agreement as to what kind of, or how long, a sentence he could face. The DA’s office says that it will seek jail time for Cox, but whether or not he serves time behind bars will be up to Judge Don Elledge.
The Tennessee Department of Corrections will examine mitigating and aggravating factors, including the crime itself and any previous criminal history (he has none) before issuing what is known as a sentencing report, that will be used by Judge Elledge in determining Cox’s sentence.
Cox pleaded guilty to theft over $60,000, which carries with it a possible sentence of anywhere from eight months on probation all the way up to 12 years in jail.
He was indicted on the charge in February of 2016, accused of stealing money from Longfield Baptist Church in Rocky Top, where he served as treasurer. He told reporters last year that he had gambled with some of the money at a casino in Cherokee, North Carolina.
In addition to many years on the County Commission, including stints as Chairman, Cox is also a retired educator. He was defeated in his re-election bid to the Commission in 2010.