Ex-Franklin DA employee pleads guilty to ethics charge
FLORENCE (AP) — A Russellville woman who coordinated the worthless check unit in the Franklin County District Attorney's Office has pleaded guilty to an ethics violation, officials said.
Courthouse officials said Sandra Hester, 47, pleaded guilty in Lauderdale County Circuit Judge Mike Jones' courtroom to intentionally using her public position for unlawful personal gain. The case was assigned to a judge outside Franklin County.
The charge is a Class B felony, which is punishable by two to 20 years in prison.
Joy Patterson, a spokeswoman with the state attorney general's office, said Hester pleaded guilty to a five-year sentence, which will be split with one year to serve. She must also pay restitution of $42,603.
A count of first-degree theft of property was dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
According to reports from the attorney general's office, an Alabama Examiners of Public Accounts audit showed $42,603 had been collected but was not deposited into the bank account for the Franklin County DA's office.
The auditor's report said the money appeared to have been converted to Hester's personal use for a period of Sept. 1, 2002, through June 30, 2004.
Jones will officially sentence Hester on June 7.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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