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Sam Neill released from prison

Sam Neill, the disbarred Hendersonville attorney sent to prison for embezzling from estates he represented, is free after serving six years in federal and state prisons.

 

Neill, 69, was released from Craggy Correctional Center in Asheville on Saturday, according to N.C. Department of Public Safety records.

After pleading guilty in September 2012 to income tax evasion and embezzling $2.4 million from five estates, Neill was sentenced to six to eight years in prison in separate terms to run concurrently. He reported to a federal prison in Jesup, Ga., in June 2013 and was released on Jan. 21, 2016, to the N.C. Department of Correction. His parole ends in March 2020, records show.

Neill was sentenced in federal court in Asheville and in Henderson County Superior Court and ordered to pay $2.78 million. An insurance bond covered a $55,000 theft from one of the estates. As restititution for the Barry E. Clemo trust, the Community Foundation received the proceeds from the sale of real estate Neill owned on South Grove Street. After attorney fees, sales commission and other fees the two nonprofits expected to receive about $300,000 each. The total amount Neill owed the estate was $884,515, court records said.

A one-time candidate for Congress and the state Senate, Neill had been a prominent supporter of the arts, owner of Flight restaurant and a former member of the UNC Board of Governors before his indictment in 2012.