Attorney General Thurbert Baker announced today that former Brooks County School Superintindent, John R. Horton, has received a multi-count felony indictment stemming from his administration of a wealthy estate in Brooks County.
Horton served as the Executor of the estate of Robert Warde Chambers. When Chambers died in 1989, Horton was to distribute the assets of the Chambers estate to charitable organizations. Instead, over a 10 year period, Horton is accused of converting the assets of the estate to his personal use. The estate included stock in major corporations such as Coca-Cola, First Union Bank and the Southern Company. Horton is accused of converting stock and securities belonging to the estate to his personal use, as well as stealing money and property from the estate. The estate was valued in excess of $2 million at the time of the theft.
Attorney General Baker said, “It is a travesty that anyone would steal money that has been designated for charity, especially someone that has been placed in a position of trust and authority, such as Mr. Horton. I am troubled by his thoughtless actions. I will do all in my power to make sure that that the assets of the Chambers estate will finally go to the organizations that Mr. Chambers intended.”
The indictment includes 29 counts of Theft by Conversion and one count of violation of the RICO statute. If convicted on all counts, Horton faces a maximum sentence of 455 years in prison. His arraignment on the charges is scheduled for October 15, 2001.
The Attorney General’s Office has also filed a civil lawsuit against Horton to recover the money and property belonging to the estate.
Assistant Attorney General Cassandra Schansman will prosecute the criminal case.