Judge sentences Crista Madden to 20 years
June 11 Franklin County citizens filed into the courtroom at the Franklin County Courthouse to witness the sentencing of former county administrator Crista Madden.
Judge Pride Tompkins presided over the sentencing. He denied Madden probation and sentenced her to 20 years in prison plus restitution of the funds she stole from Franklin County.
Many supporters appeared on Madden’s behalf, including family, friends and work relations. Five character witnesses approached the judge and gave statements for why Madden’s sentence should consist of probation and restitution rather than prison time. They all cited her character, stating that she felt great remorse for her crime and that her good deeds aside from this criminal activity should be taken into account in her sentencing.
“She’ll forever be known as the administrator who embezzled funds from Franklin County,” witness Mike Mayfield said. “I do not believe the best interest of Franklin County will be served by sending her to prison.”
Probate Judge and Franklin County Commission Chairman Barry Moore read a letter he wrote on behalf of himself and Franklin County, which he stated was the victim of this crime. He cited feelings of outrage, betrayal and mistrust from the county because of Madden’s crime. Moore called for a sentence appropriate for the crime so “people of this county will see justice served in this matter and know that things like this are taken seriously.”
Madden was arrested in March after the Attorney General’s office had requested and seized financial records from the Franklin County Commission Office. Madden soon pleaded guilty to two counts of an intentional ethics violation: one for using her official position for personal gain and one for using official equipment for personal gain, by which she stole $753,899 from the county. Both are class B felonies with a penalty of two to 20 years for each of them.
“I’ve been thinking about this case for a long time,” Tompkins said. “There are a lot of victims. I’ve never had a case like this.”
After listening to the witnesses and hearing from both the defense and the prosecution, Tompkins denied the defense’s request for probation and sentenced Madden to 20 years in prison for each count, to run concurrent with each other. Madden must also pay back the $753,899.21 she stole from the county.
According to her husband Jeff Madden, the family has already begun to sell some of their possessions to begin paying the money back, including putting their house up for sale.
In a press release Monday afternoon, the Alabama Attorney General’s Office weighed in on the sentence.
“The sentence imposed on Crista Madden of many years in prison properly reflects the importance of deterring public employees from exploiting their offices for personal gain,” said Attorney General Steve Marshall. “The people of Alabama deserve honest and trustworthy service from public employees and officials, and as attorney general I am committed to prosecute those who abuse their positions for illegal personal gain.
“For nearly a decade, this defendant systematically plundered funds that belonged to Franklin County and betrayed her public trust. Due to the vigilance of the Examiners of Public Accounts, her crimes were discovered and reported to my office.
“I want to commend the outstanding work by Assistant Attorneys General Katie Langer and Chris Moore of my Criminal Trials Division and special agents of the newly-formed Cybercrime Lab in my Investigations Division for bringing this case to a successful conclusion.”