Sentence date set for former attorney

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

BOONEVILLE – Once prominent attorney Thomas D. Keenum Sr. will be sentenced Dec. 30 for federal bank fraud.
Keenum, 73, pleaded guilty in August 2010 to a scheme to defraud BancorpSouth of Booneville through a $135,447 loan. He faces up to 30 years in prison and $1 million in fines.
Keenum’s sentencing reportedly was delayed more than two years by a personal bankruptcy filing and difficulties in determining the total amount of the fraud, which has a bearing on guidelines presented to the judge.
U.S. District Judge W. Allen Pepper Jr. will sentence him in Greenville.
Keenum was disbarred in May after he turned in his irrevocable resignation to the Mississippi Bar.
Once president of the Northeast Mississippi Community Board of Trustees, he saw the Booneville school take his name off its stadium after his criminal charges were revealed.
Keenum was more of a business attorney than a courtroom attorney, associates say. He was an original incorporator of the Tupelo Furniture Market and Baptist Memorial Hospital in Booneville.
Legal associates say he may have made $1 million for his interest when the BenchCraft furniture plant at Blue Mountain was sold years ago.
In his bank fraud scheme, Keenum reportedly convinced other local lawyers to sign certificates of title, which they assumed were clear of financial binds. The names of those lawyers aren’t on any public documents.
The original federal charges against him claimed owed about $377,000 to Peoples Bank of Ripley, Community Spirit Bank in Red Bay, Ala., and BancorpSouth in Booneville. He reportedly used the same piece of land as collateral on multiple loans.
Later documents in bankruptcy court claimed nearly $1 million in fake invoices were generated on Keenum companies to convince Spirit Bank to OK a loan.
His wife, Patsy, told the Daily Journal in March 2009 that he was suffering from short-term memory problems and that his law office was closed because of that.
patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com