Green disputes sentence recommendation

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Jimmy Green, the disgraced former furniture industry chief, says global business pressures brought on millions in debt, sent him and Peoploungers into bankruptcy and pushed him to criminal acts.
The 57-year-old Green of Tupelo pleaded guilty in April to bank fraud, mail fraud and money laundering. He admitted to a loan scheme that ultimately cost eight Northeast Mississippi and Alabama banks more than $5.2 million.
The government has upped that total to $6.2 million, which he disputes.
Thursday, his attorneys filed objections to a pre-sentence report that serves as a guide to Chief U.S. District Judge Michael P. Mills, who will sentence him Nov. 4.
While the report is not public, his objection says it will recommend a sentence of 51-63 months.
In his nine-page objection, with exhibits, Green seeks to explain to Mills that his undoing comes after a life of family and community responsibility.
He says his father, a physician, died when Green was very young. An only child, he was an Eagle Scout and ushered at his church more than 30 years. He was a dutiful son and cared for his mother until her death from cancer.
But taking on Peoploungers in Nettleton in 1997 became “a $7.5 million sinkhole,” the court document says.
Green assumed all of the debt and personally guaranteed it.
The business grew and grew, employing some 900 people in 2005. Then China began to undercut the upholstered furniture business, and sales and profits dropped dramatically.
Peoploungers declared bankruptcy in 2007, and Green did the same two weeks later.
He says he’s not in the best of health, and that a lesser sentence is called for, saying he’s been a productive citizen but acknowledges his criminal conduct.
He calls what he did “robbing Peter to pay Paul” to try to keep his company afloat, but he also blames the banks for not closely monitoring his financial claims to them.

Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com.