A $240,000 judgment against a former Carter County Clerk was filed in the District Court Monday.
According to court documents, during her tenure as the county clerk Cynthia Pickens, formerly known as Cynthia Harmon, “fraudulently removed” the petitoner’s name from a deed that was filed with the Carter County Clerk on August 5, 2011.
An Order Granting Default Judgment was filed on May 10, 2019 and Pickens reportedly did not ask the court to set aside the order or file any responsive pleadings. The petitioner was therefore granted two separate judgments against Pickens, according to court documents.
The first judgment, amounting to $182,850, accounts for the present value of the Carter County property that was “wrongfully taken” from the petitioner when Pickens “fraudulently” removed his name from the deed, according to the court documents.
The second judgment in the amount of $58,150 constitutes the loss of income from rent of the house and grazing lease rights for the 97 months that have passed since the fraudulent deed was filed.
In addition to the two judgments, Pickens has been ordered to reimburse the petitioner for court costs and an appraisal of the value of the property, amounting to $827.14.
In 2016, Becky Suzanne Wright, a former employee of the previous Carter County Clerk, made allegations of criminal misconduct against Pickens, as earlier reported by The Ardmoreite. At the time, Wright alleged that Pickens had altered a General Warranty Deed for the conveyance of real property prior to filing.
District Attorney Craig Ladd recused himself from an embezzlement case involving Wright and any matters pertaining to the allegations against Pickens in Sept. 2016 due to Wright’s claims that Pickens had “undue influence” over him.
The fraudulent deed matter was handled by a prosecutor from a neighboring district, as requested by the petitioner, Ladd said in an email. “I was not involved in that matter at his specific request. Therefore, I do not believe it would be appropriate for me to comment on anything pertaining to it,” Ladd said.