Hester hit with five-year sentence

By Staff
Melissa Cason, Franklin County Times
A former county employee was sentenced to a five-year split sentence in a courtroom in Lauderdale County Courthouse yesterday.
Sandra Hester, a former coordinator of the Franklin County District Attorney's worthless check unit, will spend one year in the custody of the Alabama Department of Corrections, and the other four years of her sentence on probation, Assistant Attorney General Brent Woodall said.
Hester, 47, pled guilty to the charge of using her public position for unlawful personal gain.
"It is appropriate that this defendant now must serve time in prison for her crime," Attorney General Troy King said. "The people of Franklin County can rest assured that the Attorney General's Office will remain steadfast in defending the citizens of our state against those who break the very laws they are sworn to uphold."
An audit by the Alabama Examiners of Public Accounts discovered that $42,603 was collected through the Franklin County Worthless Check Unit, but not deposited into the bank account for the program.
The audit report noted that the money appeared to have been converted to Hester's personal use through a scheme of lapping deposits.
Cash was taken from deposits and made up with receipts collected at a later date. Collections were deposited up to two months from the date received.
Payments other than cash were not in the corresponding receipt batch in which they were received and were deposited on a different date, which indicated that lapping of deposits had been occurring, according to the Examiner's audit dated Dec. 10, 2004, which covered the time period of September 1, 2002 and June 30, 2004.
Hester was transported from Lauderdale County to the Franklin County Jail, and will be transported into the custody of the Alabama Department of Corrections.