Jones County News
Psychiatrist jailed for contempt of court
by Debbie Lurie-Smith
February 7, 2010
Dr. Thomas H. Sachy was ordered incarcerated by Chief Superior Court Judge William Prior following a Jan. 28 contempt hearing. The psychiatrist is charged with contempt because of his failure to pay a $930,000 judgment to his former wife, Dr. Melissa Sims. The payment was ordered by Judge Hulane George in December of 2008 as part of the couple’s divorce decree, and Prior again ordered Sachy to pay the judgment at a hearing in Baldwin County, Oct. 26, 2009.
At the beginning of last week’s hearing, Prior stated that the big issue is that Sachy was in contempt of court because he was ordered to abide by the judgment.
At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge said it is inconceivable to him that a highly educated man does not know where his money is and made no effort to comply with the court judgment. Prior said Sachy will remain incarcerated until he pays the judgment, and then he will have 30 days to pay Sims’ attorney’s fees or he will be in contempt again.
Sachy was represented by Atlanta attorney Jeffrey Barnes and Sims by Kice Stone from Macon. The defendant’s side of the courtroom was filled by his patients.
Stone called the defendant to the witness stand, and he asked Sachy if he recalled the divorce trial and last year’s contempt hearing. Sachy replied that he did remember but he had not complied because he was expecting to be granted a new trial based on public corruption and because his due process rights have been violated.
Prior told Sachy that his allegations had no part of the day’s proceedings.
All through the hearing, Sachy attempted to bring out information about his ex-wife that the court ruled had nothing to do with the issue at hand, which was the court-ordered judgment. The defendant, however, was focused on the matter that he feels violated his rights.
In December of 2006, Sachy went to the Jones County Sheriff’s Department stating that Sims was guilty of forgery. He stated that, without his knowledge, his wife attempted to change their daughter’s name and forged his name in the process. He said the forged document was then notarized by Sims’ assistant. Sims is a forensic pathologist with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime laboratory in Macon.
He was seeking to have Sims charged with fraud, forgery, and violation of her oath of office.
The case was taken before Jones County’s grand jury Aug. 6, 2008, and was not indicted.
In July of 2009, he wrote two letters to Sheriff Butch Reece, alleging that one of his officers committed a crime in the handling of the case. Sachy said evidence given to the GBI was incomplete. The sheriff replied to the letters stating that the defendant’s allegations had no merit.
Sachy then wrote to District Attorney Fred Bright, asking him to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Sims and the sheriff’s department. He cited alleged conflicts of interest with the attorney representing his wife as well as that attorney’s connection to the foreman of the grand jury.
The information, including a transcript of the GBI’s interview with Sims about the name change was also sent to the office of Georgia’s Attorney General Thurbert Baker.
Sachy has fought the judgment all the way to the Georgia Supreme Court, but his petitions have been denied at each step. His application to be heard by the high court was denied in December.
Sachy said the information has been turned over to and is being reviewed by the FBI.
Where’s the money?
Stone questioned Sachy about his bank statements presenting exhibits showing that the psychiatrist had certificates of deposit in amounts more than adequate to pay the judgment. The CDs were liquidated, and the defendant said he took $953,000 to Canada to be invested in May of 2009.
“I took the money to Canada because the banks were unsafe here,” Sachy testified.
The defendant again said he had not paid the judgment because he expected to have a new trial, and Stone reminded him that his appeals have been exhausted.
“I’m trying to federalize this. My rights have been violated,” Sachy said.
The defendant was called back to the witness stand by his attorney, who asked him the location of the money from the CDs, and Sachy explained that he did not know. He said he has tendered deeds to his home and office to cover the judgment.
The defendant testified to his current financial situation. He said he did not pay Sims’ attorney’s fees because he felt Stone had committed illegal acts.
In Stone’s cross examination, he asked about the day-to-day operation of the doctor’s office and brought out that Sachy’s mother handles the money. The only insurance the office accepts is Medicaid; otherwise, the patients pay with cash, check, or credit card.
The defendant’s mother was the next witness and she testified that she deposits the money and pays the bills. She said her son cashed the CDs to pay taxes and to invest. The mother also said Sachy paid his attorneys $80,000 in cash last year.
The last witness was Senn Emery, the man to whom Sachy gave $953,000 to invest. Emery said Sachy called him because he wanted to explore investment options in Canada. He advised Sachy to invest with Hermes Capital Investment Corporation.
Emery said all went well with the investment until the director of the company died unexpectedly, and it was inherited by his 21-year-old son. Barnes asked if Emery had any idea when he would get the money back, and the witness said no. He said he also invested $250,000 with the company.
Stone asked Emery if he was bonded, and he said no.
Barnes told the court that Sachy has no money and no hope of getting any in the near future. He said his client is willing to turn over the deeds to his property and is ready to move out.
“He wants to give her the properties and get it over with. We have no answer about the money and ask that you accept the deeds,” the attorney said.
Stone presented the court with several issues against Sachy. He said the defendant has the wherewithal to satisfy the judgment, and Sims was not awarded the property nor does she want them. Stone said Sachy did not pay his firm’s court-ordered attorney’s fees of $5,000 but paid his own attorneys $80,000 in cash.
“We have records of enormous amounts of money going through his accounts,” Stone said. “He was fully capable of satisfying this judgment. The only way to get his attention is to incarcerate him in Jones County.”
It appears the judge agreed, and, as of the printing of this edition, the psychiatrist remains in jail.