Former Employee for Madison Co. Commission Indicted on Ethics, Theft Charges

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Deborah Sims (Photo: Madison County Detention Center)

Deborah Sims (Photo: Madison County Detention Center)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – A former public employee for the Madison County Commission has been arrested for felony ethics and theft charges.

Attorney General Luther Strange said Deborah Kay Sims, 59, of Gurley, surrendered Wednesday at the Madison County Sheriff’s Office.

Prosecutors for the Attorney General’s office presented evidence to a Madison County grand jury on March 11, Strange said. The grand jury indicted Sims.

Her charges are as follows:

• 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

If convicted, Sims could face two to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $30,000 for each of the counts.

Sims worked as secretary for former District Three Commissioner Jerry Craig.  She was terminated earlier in 2013 after being confronted about several financial irregularities in a Madison County bank account.

WHNT News 19 first reported on the investigation in December. Sources familiar with the case tell us it involves tens of thousands of misused taxpayer dollars.

Current District Three Commissioner Eddie Sisk said he contacted law enforcement after receiving a mysterious bank statement in the mail in late 2012, just weeks after he succeeded Craig.

“It was shocking when I found it,” said Sisk. “Just as soon as I opened it I knew we had a problem…we went to looking back several years, and it was something that had been going on for a long period of time.”

Sources said the bank account in question involved a county checking account used for the annual Madison County Fishing Rodeo, with evidence reportedly linking Sims to a number of unusually large deposits and subsequent withdrawals that had nothing to do with the event.

Madison County Chairman Dale Strong said an ongoing audit by the State Examiner’s Office will soon bring everything to light.

“We’re watching as the Attorney General proceeds forward,” said Strong. “I believe this audit will provide information that lets the taxpayers know what’s going on. We’ve opened up the books as we have for these audits, and I believe the evidence will be presented in the days ahead.”

23 comments

  • Nuclear Mike

    Yet another paid servant of the Public with their handin the till…Alabama please audit immediately anoyone who can have access to our hard earned tax monies to enrich themselves!!!

  • Carol

    Strange should also look into some of the higher ups on the commissions as to the sudden and vast property ownership by someone only drawing a commissioner’s salary and the activities surrounding the 2011 /2012 tornados. Too many accusations and rumors with credibility continue to make the rounds. The “good ole boy” network is not as bad as the happenings in some sections of the county.

  • Carol

    Strange should check out some of the higher ups on the Commission. Vast property ownership by one on a commissioner’s salary only. Rumored and founded accusations occurring around the 2011/2012 tornados. Things are not right.

  • LAC

    Mike, can we audit you. You are the first person to comment on every story. Hopefully you not wasting tax dollars earning your living. Get a Job.

    • Nuclear Mike

      Thanks for noticing…yes, I have time & treasure to waste to as I please from my many years of involvement in government & business so the insight of experience with past investigations leads to early comments and pointed statments…

  • Karinttt

    Why would anyone think they could get away with this? That’s just not too smart. She’sprobably (unless innocent) ruined the rest of her life, for what? A few bucks. People should know they are going to get caught at some point… money leaves a trail…always. And, hopefully, her husband had no idea. No need to paint him with the same brush until he’s charged too. So, why shouldn’t he work there?

  • Skillpot

    Okay, another case of a public works employee not being supervised, and managed by her superiors, due to lack of internal control over financial matters! So, let’s take the loss back to the Madison County Commission, to share in the recovery!

  • texasmomma

    whats going to be bad is when shes found innocent and the people of Madison County Commission have to pay for the lives they have ruined.

  • Jeff

    It was shocking, just shocking says Sisk. While sitting on Dale Strong lap while Strong pulls the strings.

  • concerned

    You are welcome ,you want want to put a little salt and pepper on JERK it will taste better when you have to eat your words.

  • Madisoncentral

    Before I transferred from there her and Jerry Craig used to arrive together and leave at lunch everyday. They used to take the county donated (from corporations)goods and sell them at flea markets. Her son worked with me(barley) and always got what he wanted. They all were one big corrupt happy family.

    I’m tired of this good ole boy system of government to get anywhere. If you don’t know someone or play by there rules they will have you fired.

    BTW Jerry Craig in my opinion was not a bystander. There is a good chance he will be brought into this if the good ole boy is defeated and the truth comes out.

    • annasmith

      While you are checking, commissioner craig’s wife worked for the Owens Cross Roads water authority and filled up her personal car with gas at BP charged to the authority.

  • No way

    Is there proof that Craig’s wife was arrested for shoplifting in Guntersville within the past few years?

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