Arab Electric Cooperative employee pleads guilty to embezzlement charge

ARAB, Ala. – An Arab Electric Cooperative employee pleaded guilty to embezzling almost $3 million from the company.

John  Willis entered that plea in federal court Monday morning. Willis initially pleaded not guilty.

The judge ordered Willis to pay restitution and will sentence him in 90 days.

John Willis, known as Jack, worked as a member services supervisor with the Arab Electric Cooperative. He was put on unpaid leave near the beginning of the year.

Officials say in early March, the Tennessee Valley Authority conducted a routine audit at the utility company. The company also had a software change. “They audit random accounts, and in this particular case it uncovered the things that led to the discovery of the things that he is charged with doing,” said Marshall County District Attorney Everette Johnson.

It’s not clear how far back the irregularities uncovered in the audit go.

The Marshall County District Attorney’s Office worked closely with state and federal investigators. Then the case went to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Willis was released on a $5,000 bond in August after the initial court proceeding.