TUPELO, Mississippi — Louis Aldridge will be sentenced Friday after entering an open plea of guilty to three counts of embezzlement.
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1ERXL52 ) the plea was entered Wednesday in Lee County Circuit Court before Judge James L. Roberts.
Aldridge was accused of taking money from the account of his sister-in-law, Florence Aldridge, without her consent. He faces up to 10 years in prison for each count.
The open plea means Aldridge has no deal with prosecutors regarding his punishment.
A grand jury last summer indicted Aldridge along with his ex-wife, Janice Aldridge, and their son, Republican state Rep. Brian Aldridge. Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood dropped the charge against Brian Aldridge when Florence Aldridge died and could not testify against him.
Louis Aldridge was charged with three counts of embezzlement. Janice Aldridge was charged with two counts of embezzlement. The state law charges them with embezzling more than $500, but the actual amount was in the thousands of dollars.
The charges stem from a 2008 civil lawsuit filed by Florence Aldridge, the widow of Louis' brother. From 2003 to mid-2008, she granted Louis durable power of attorney to look after her assets. In 2008, she discovered nearly all of her $700,000 assets and family treasures were gone.
Documents in the civil lawsuit show the Aldridges spent Florence's money on casinos, cash, cars, vehicle repairs, clothing, and numerous trips including to Colorado, Grand Cayman Islands and Hawaii. One of the Hawaii trips was Brian Aldridge's honeymoon.
Louis Aldridge was ordered in 2011 to repay Florence $552,000.
Last December, the Mississippi Supreme Court upheld a ruling that Brian Aldridge pay $218,355 to his aunt, whose estate was plundered by Aldridge's father.
In 2012, a Lee County judge found Brian Aldridge wasn't personally liable for the $522,000 that Florence Aldridge lost because of actions of Louis Aldridge.
However, the judge said Brian Aldridge was responsible for what happened with their charity through which Louis Aldridge funneled some the aunt's money.
Brian Aldridge announced Wednesday that he is not running this year for a fourth term in the Mississippi House.
Information from: Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, http://djournal.com
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