Prison for fmr. Covington Co. probate judge

Former Covington Co. Probate Judge Sherri Phillips will spend 3 years in prison.
Former Covington Co. Probate Judge Sherri Phillips will spend 3 years in prison.

Posted by: John Shryock - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -  The Alabama Supreme Court declined to review the case of former Probate Judge Sherrie Phillips Friday meaning she will soon start a prison sentence.

She now has 15 days to surrender to the county sheriff. She faces two concurrent sentences of 10 years, which were split for her to serve three years incarceration followed by three years of supervised probation.

"It is appropriate that Sherrie Phillips begin to serve her prison sentence. We are sending a strong message that no one is above the law," said Attorney General King. "This verdict proves that even judges who break the laws they apply are accountable for their actions."

Phillips was found guilty by a jury in Covington County Circuit Court on October 29, 2008. Her appeal was denied by the Court of Criminal Appeals.

The Attorney General's Office presented evidence that Phillips took a $1.8 million check from the estate of Cary Douglas Piper and put the funds into a personal account for herself, listing her own address and social security number on the account.

Phillips then withdrew $516,917, which was used by herself and family members.

She returned $516,000 later, but the money was not repaid until the morning after Attorney General's investigators came to the probate office with a subpoena seeking the file and records of the Piper estate.

Phillips wrote 10 checks from the account, including checks to pay off loans, a $25,000 check to her husband, a $100,000 check to her brother, a $100,000 check to herself after she had bought a Cadillac for more than $60,000, and a $23,000 check to a Ford dealer for her husband's truck.

On April 30, 2008, agents of Attorney General King's office served a subpoena upon the Covington County Probate Office for the file on the Piper estate. At that time, the file did not record what became of the $1.8 million.

Phillips was at the financial institution the next morning when it opened, and immediately transferred the money from her personal account into a public funds account. She then deposited a check from a brother for $449,000, a check from another brother for $25,000, a check from her husband for $12,000, and a check from herself for $32,000 into that account.

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