Man convicted for theft from Tallapoosa County Commission

MONTGOMERY, AL., -- Attorney General Troy King announced the conviction of a Mississippi man for first-degree theft by deception from the Tallapoosa County Commission. Terry Smith, 45, of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, pleaded guilty in Tallapoosa County Circuit Court to first-degree theft.

Smith received a sentence of 10 years, which was split for him to serve six months imprisonment and five years of supervised probation. He was ordered to pay $19,739 in restitution to the Tallapoosa County Commission and to pay $100 for Victims Crime Fund Assessment.

As part of his guilty plea and sentencing, Smith agreed to testify truthfully in any proceedings involving his co-defendant Michael Lucas, and in any proceeding involving the theft of money or checks from the Tallapoosa County Commission.

"Theft of public funds is a serious crime, for which it is appropriate that Terry Smith spend time in jail, and that he be required to give a truthful account of his knowledge of the crime," said Attorney General Troy King. "This conviction and sentence should send a message that stealing from the taxpayers of Alabama is a crime that will not be tolerated."

Charges are pending against Lucas, a Tallapoosa County maintenance department employee, for felony ethics violation and first-degree theft. The Attorney General's office presented evidence to a Tallapoosa County grand jury resulting in an August 2008 indictment that charged Lucas with two counts of first-degree theft of currency or checks valued at more than $2,500, which was the property of the Tallapoosa County Commission; and with one count of violating the ethics law by intentionally using his official position for unlawful personal gain. No further information about the investigation or about the alleged crimes may be released at this time.

Attorney General King commended Assistant Attorney General Bill Lisenby, division chief, and Assistant Attorney General James Rutter, both of the Public Corruption and White Collar Crime Division;  and Special Agent Bob Caviness of the Attorney General's Investigations Division for their work on this case.