Former car dealer jailed in Washington County

By Kathy Helms-Hughes

   A Hampton man released last month from Carter County Jail on a reduced bond following indictment on charges brought by Tennessee Highway Patrol, was being held Thursday evening in Washington County Detention Center on $50,000 bond following his arrest Wednesday.
   Eddie Mike Hughes, 47, 104 Michael Drive, was taken into custody by Trooper Christy Osborne after being indicted July 2 by a Washington County Grand Jury on three counts of criminal simulation.
   Hughes appeared June 25 in Johnson City General Sessions Court to answer a charge of hindering a secured creditor. He also is wanted in Statesboro, N.C., on a $28,000 worthless check charge, however, North Carolina refuses to extradite.
   Hughes was arrested May 7 by Special Agent Danny Bowman of THP's Criminal Investigation Division and charged with 52 counts of criminal simulation, two counts of forgery, and three counts of theft over $10,000 following an investigation by the highway patrol.
   The charges came after Trooper Mark Musick, Special Agent Billy Grooms and Special Agent Bowman went to Hughes' residence on March 18 and seized a 1999 GMC Denalli. After receiving consent to search, officers recovered a black bag containing automobile titles, sales documents, and other papers. According to Agent Bowman, fraudulent titles from 10 different states and the District of Columbia were recovered, as well as a copy of a check for $36,700, for a total value of $560,625.
   During a videotaped interview conducted March 20, Hughes admitted making the documents to generate income for his failing used car business, formerly located in the Valley Forge community. He also admitted to forgeries that resulted in thefts conducted to complete automobile business transactions, according to Bowman.
   Hughes had been held in Carter County Jail on $381,000 bond since his arrest in May. On June 24, Criminal Court Judge Robert Cupp released Hughes on a property appearance bond totaling $297,500, and gave him until Monday of this week to meet the conditions imposed upon his release.
   At Hughes' bond reduction hearing, Judge Cupp removed the public defender's office from the case and told Hughes to hire an attorney and return to court July 15 after he told the judge that he had a job waiting on him. Other conditions imposed require Hughes to maintain full-time employment and to resume his parental responsibility.
   On Monday, Hughes told the judge that he hoped to hire Elizabethton Attorney Bill Hampton, but had not yet come up with the $10,000 Hampton wanted to take the case, according to court officials. Hughes' case was reset for Aug. 9.