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Former attorney accused of stealing from conservatorship

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A former Nashville attorney is in jail, accused of preying on his most vulnerable clients, and that's only the beginning.

John E. Clemmons is now facing criminal charges in Davidson County for the first time. You may remember he pleaded guilty in Rutherford County for doing the same sort of thing he is alleged to do here - stealing from the infirmed who were powerless to protect themselves.

Now, Clemmons is jailed in Nashville on half-million dollars bond.

He's accused of causing millions of dollars of heartache to families like those of Nannie Malone.

Malone was 82 when she died in a nursing home. Clemmons was supposed to be caring for her and paying her bills. He had been her conservator for six years.

"I would ask for money to buy diapers or to get her hair cut. He said, 'She had no money,'" said Malone's daughter, Teresa Lyles. "He was very arrogant, he was very arrogant."

Lyles says her younger sister hounded Clemmons, demanding an audit and an accounting of their mother's money.

"So he filed a petition in court to keep her from seeing our mother. She couldn't handle that. She could not handle not seeing our mother. And she took her own life that night," Lyles said.

Eventually, the bank statements would show Clemmons wrote himself more than 50 checks from Nannie Malone's account for a grand total of $367,000.

"One of those checks would have paid for the medicine that my mother needed - the cancer drug that he stopped paying for," Lyles said.

Lyles told Channel 4 News in July she wanted Clemmons prosecuted, and that's the process now in place.

According to court papers, Clemmons is accused of stealing not just from Malone, but also from two other clients. They are accusations that, if proven true, could lead to decades in prison for Clemmons.

"He made my mother suffer and made her family suffer. Now look what he's doing to his own family," Lyles said.

Clemmons pleaded guilty to a similar charge in Rutherford County and is scheduled to be sentenced there in a few weeks.

The family of Nannie Malone has also filed a civil suit against Clemmons.

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