MADISON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - A former employee for the Madison County Commission was arrested for felony ethics and theft charges. Deborah Kay Sims, 59, of Gurley, turned herself in to the Madison County Sheriff's Office Wednesday afternoon.
Attorney General Luther Strange announced Sims was indicted on the following charges:
- one count of intentionally using her official position as a public employee for unlawful personal gain of checks or money valued at more than $2,500
- one count of first-degree theft by unauthorized control of checks or money valued at more than $2,500, which was the property of the Madison County Commission
- one count of first-degree theft by deception of checks or money valued at more than $2,500, which was the property of the Madison County Commission
District 3 commissioner Eddie Sisk said he came across a supicious bank account a few weeks after taking office. Sisk said he alerted the county's attorney and administrator, and he said that's when they first learned about the theft. He said he would not release exactly how much money Sims is accused of stealing.
Sisk said the stolen money is taxpayer funds that should have gone towards road repairs and other work. He said taxpayer checks instead went into a fish-and-rodeo fund, only to later turn up missing.
"That's why some of our roads are in the shape they're in," said Sisk. "The money was diverted away."
Commission Chairman Dale Strong said the investigation is likely still ongoing, but that's in the hands of the Attorney General's Office. "Everything here has been completed at this time. For the last several months, it's been in the hands of the Ethics Commission, the Attorney General, and the examiners of public accounts," he said.
If convicted, Sims faces up to 20 years in prison and could be fined $30,000 for each count filed against her.