Allman found guilty on 18 counts

Hendersonville attorney Andy Allman used clients’ money to support his lavish lifestyle, prosecutors argued during his nine-day trial.

Kevin Dycus’s son was just nine years old when the boy’s mother took her own life.

A few years later in the spring of 2014, the young teen received the only thing of value his mother left behind — a $108,000 insurance policy.

With an eye toward the future, Dycus contacted an Edward Jones agent about investing the money for his minor child.

While waiting for a judge to release the money for the investment plan, Dycus signed the check over to an attorney – and long-time friend – for safekeeping in the attorney’s trust account.

Unfortunately for Dycus, that long-time “friend” was Hendersonville attorney Andy Allman who moved Dycus’ money over to his operating and personal accounts and quickly spent it, prosecutors argued last week.

Dycus wasn’t alone.

Allman, 52, was convicted by a Sumner County jury Nov. 11 for nine counts of theft and six counts of the unauthorized practice of law for what prosecutors called a years-long pattern of defrauding his clients.

His convictions followed a nine-day trial, three hours of deliberations — and years of delay and betrayal.

Last week’s criminal convictions pale in comparison to the number of complaints filed against Allman with the state’s Board of Professional Responsibility. That number is more than 200.

Allman was temporarily suspended by the Board of Professional Responsibility in September 2016 after complaints of misconduct and the misappropriation of funds. Shortly after that his law firm, Allman and Associates, was forced into receivership.

Following an investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations, Allman was indicted on 28 charges of theft and practicing law without a license in August of 2017. A separate grand jury indicted him in December of that year on 11 more charges.

Allman was disbarred from practicing law and ordered by the Board to pay an estimated $1.1 million in restitution in 2018. None of that money has been paid, however.

The disbarred attorney was set to go to trial on the criminal charges in March of 2020 when he was indicted on another charge of theft and falsely representing himself as an attorney. His bond was revoked and his trial was delayed.

On Nov. 1, a jury of six men, six women and four alternates were seated, and the trial started with Assistant District Attorneys Thomas Dean and Tara Wiley prosecuting the case. Allman represented himself.

Prosecutors called 45 witnesses that included his alleged victims; employees at three different banks Allman did business with; attorneys with the Board of Professional Responsibility; former Andy Allman and Associates employees; and a forensic accountant.

Victims described handing money over to Allman, either to hold in a trust account or for a retainer fee, only to receive little or nothing in return. Allman and Associates employees described a bustling law firm with more than 200 clients, yet they their paychecks would sometimes bounce for lack of funds. Bankers told of emailing Allman each day to let him know of his operating account’s deficit balance, and how he was often given special treatment due to his personal connections.

After the prosecution rested its case, Allman called Merry Ann Lewellyn of Tennessee Business Services as his only witness in an attempt to create doubt in the minds of jurors.

‘Legally Adrift’

Allman then questioned himself on the stand for several hours, arguing that he often delegated the bookkeeping and handling of clients to others, and that many clients’ missing money was actually payment owed him for work done.

“Did you know how she was running your books?” Allman asked himself on the stand about Lewellyn.

“No,” he answered.

“Did you micromanage what she was doing to handle your books?” he asked.

“No,” he replied.

“Should you have been more hands-on?”

“The answer is yes,” he replied.

During cross-examination, Dean pointed out that two banks received judgments against Allman; he had several federal tax liens against him; and several companies like the National Court Reporters and his former law firm, had judgements against him as well.

“You’ve been in debt quite a long time for a lot of money to a lot of people,” said Dean.

Allman’s financial problems had their roots back to 2012, Dean contended.

Dean pointed to Allman’s lifestyle during the time of the alleged thefts.

A member of Bluegrass Yacht and Country Club from 2013 to 2016, Allman paid his regular monthly membership fee as well as a boat slip fee.

“What was the name of your boat?” he asked, showing jurors a photo of Allman’s 1996 Sea Ray, with the name “Legally Adrift” inscribed across the boat’s stern.

Dean also showed jurors receipts for an Alaskan cruise Allman took with his wife, trips to Florida for boat shows, trips to Europe and Spain and the receipt for an $18,500 engagement ring Allman bought in 2014.

‘A big misunderstanding’

“Their money was stolen. It was stolen by the defendant,” Wiley told jurors in her closing remarks. “He wants to act like this was just some big understanding.”

While the he co-mingling of personal and business funds is not allowed, Wiley said this was a daily occurrence at Allman’s firm.

“His [trust] account was treated like a personal banking account – because the rules don’t apply to Mr. Allman,” she said. “Must be nice. Sure is fun to do all of this stuff with other people’s money. And that’s what he did over and over and over and over.”

The jurors returned their verdict in three hours.

Allman was found guilty of two counts of theft of $60,000 to $250,000, a B felony; three counts of theft of $10,000 to $60,000, a C felony; seven counts of theft of $2,500 to $10,000, a D felony and six counts of the unauthorized practice of law, an E felony.

Of the 12 counts of theft Allman was found guilty of, two are B felonies carrying a range of 8 to 12 years in jail or prison. The six charges of falsely representing himself as an attorney carry a 1 to 2-year sentence.

A sentencing hearing is set for Jan. 14 at 9 a.m. in Sumner County Criminal Court.

Several of Allman’s victims, including Dycus, were in the courtroom when the verdict was read.

“It’s a relief after waiting almost seven years,” said Dycus who never got his money back. “It’s nice to finally see justice done.”

When asked about Allman, a disbarred attorney, representing himself, Dean said it was very unusual.

“I’ve never seen anything like it before in my 25 years,” he said.

Dean said his office will argue that Allman should spend his sentence in the state penitentiary and that some of his sentence should be served consecutively instead of concurrently, or at the same time.

Allman is being held in the Sumner County Jail without bond until his sentencing hearing. He still faces criminal charges in Davidson County where he is accused of stealing $230,000 from the estate of Barry Gregory.