Cemetery owner Vickie Ringley makes first restitution payment

HAWKINS COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – She may have violated the trust of her customers in the past, but Hawkins County Memorial Gardens owner Vickie Ringley is living up to her most recent agreement. According to court records, Ringley made her first restitution payment earlier this month.

Vickie Ringley (Source: Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office)

As part of a plea deal in February, prosecutors agreed to release Ringley as long as she paid $500 a month in restitution beginning in April. Those payments will continue as long as necessary, according to the agreement. The clerk will hold the money until a restitution list is provided.

Third Judicial District Attorney General Dan Armstrong said he’s relieved Ringley’s started repaying her debts.

“I’m glad to see that she’s done that,” he said. “That was certainly the reason we entered into the agreement we did with her and it’s my hope that she’ll continue to do that. If not, we’ll be asking the court to revoke her probation. We’re giving her a chance to do what she should have done to begin with and re-pay these debts.”

Ringley pleaded guilty to theft over $60,000, money laundering, forgery and failure to follow cemetery regulations earlier this year.

Despite the restitution agreement, state records show the cemetery’s pre-need services trust still has a deficit of more than $640,000. The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance has until later this month to file its recommendation to recover that money. Both options currently under consideration involve selling the cemetery, according to state records.

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