By Craig Monger

An Alabama public school employee pled guilty to stealing from the Troy City School system.

Attorney General (AG) Steve Marshall announced the conviction and sentencing of Sherry Hassey Tucker, 53, of Ramer.

Tucker, a former bookkeeper, was sentenced to 46 months imprisonment, which was suspended based on Alabama's presumptive sentencing guidelines, as well as to two years of supervised probation. Tucker was also ordered to pay $26,800.20 in restitution to Troy City Schools. Immediately following the sentencing hearing, Tucker paid $20,000 toward her court-ordered restitution. 

During the sentencing hearing, Tucker admitted that, in her capacity as a bookkeeper, she collected money from teachers and parents for specific school events and unlawfully pocketed that money for her own benefit. She further admitted to concealing her thefts by using a fake receipt book. 

"Ms. Tucker stole money provided by parents and teachers to further educational objectives," said Marshall. "Public employees working in Alabama's schools must be honest when handling public money. Her conviction should send a clear message that abuses like hers will not be tolerated." 

The AG expressed his appreciation to the Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts, which uncovered the theft during an audit. 

This conviction is one of many that have been handed down for Alabama public school officials, with some having already been sentenced and others currently awaiting trial.

See also: AG Marshall announces arrest of Montgomery school employee in fraud investigation

In 2020, a State Examiners Audit of the Montgomery Public Schools (MPS) led to six former and current MPS employees being charged with misusing over $700,000 in funds.

In August, Walter James III, a former assistant principal at Jefferson Davis High School, was sentenced to five years in prison, after which he will serve three years of supervised release. According to the DOJ, James' scheme, which occurred from August 2016 to April 2019, created a loss of $314,867.55 for MPS. 

In November, Brenda Palmer, a former interim Chief Financial Officer for MPS, was arrested and charged with fraud. Specifically, the AG's warrant alleges that Palmer used her position as interim Chief School Financial Officer for MPS to perpetrate a fraudulent invoicing scheme in which she and her accomplices stole from the school system.

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