Convicted Ga. Teacher’s “heart was larger than my pocket”

Claiming that he embezzled nearly $39,000 to help other people, Jerome Amis was sentenced on Jan. 8 to three months in a minimum security prison for embezzling funds from the Henry County chapter of the Ga. Assn. of Educators (GAE). The high school social studies teacher and McDonough City council member was indicted by a county grand jury on Nov. 13. Within the next 10 days, Amis resigned from both positions.

On Jan. 8, Amis pled guilty to embezzlement by writing numerous GAE checks to himself. But before his sentencing, Superior Court Judge Hal Craig heard from numerous friends of Amis, including two ministers, the Mayor of McDonough, and a member of the county school board, who asked that Amis be released from prison as soon as possible so that he could continue working with youth. Finally, Amis told Judge Craig, “My heart was larger than my pocket, and there were times when I was trying to help people [and] did something wrong.”

Flint Judicial Dist. Attny. Tommy Floyd recommended three years in prison, 12 years of probation, and full restitution of the stolen funds. Judge Craig sentenced Amis to 15 years of probation, with three months in a “probation detention center,” and ordered Amis to repay the GAE members. Amis’s attny. said that the frmr. teacher has no substantial source of income, but would sell his house if necessary. [Henry County Daily Herald  1/9/03]