Opelika woman sentenced for embezzling from fire departments

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A federal judge has sentenced an Opelika woman to prison for embezzling more than $600,000 from volunteer fire departments in Alabama.

U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town said Wednesday that a judge sentenced 63-year-old Andrea Payne to 42 months for wire fraud.

Town’s office says Payne served as the treasurer of the Talladega County Association of Volunteer Fire Departments between 2012 and 2018, and was responsible for distributing tax revenue to 15 volunteer fire departments. Prosecutors said she used some of the money to pay her credit card bills.

Prosecutors wrote in a court filing that she also used the money to take cruise vacations and for cash advances off her credit card.

Payne pleaded guilty in April to wire fraud.

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