Attorney General Luther Strange's office announced Tuesday the conviction of a former Alabama state senator on charges related to the theft of grant funds that were inappropriately diverted to him.
Former Senator E.B. McClain pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree theft and was given a 12 month sentence and was granted probation for one year. His sentence will be served concurrently with a federal sentence of five years and 10 months for 47 counts of money laundering, mail fraud, bribery and conspiracy. McClain, 71, is of Midfield.
Previously convicted on related charges was Samuel Pettagrue, 68, of Leeds. Pettagrue pleaded guilty on April 20 to one count of third-degree theft involving the inappropriate diversion of grant funds to McClain. Pettagrue received a sentence of 12 months and was granted probation for one year. His sentence will be served concurrently with a federal sentence of five years probation imposed for his 2009 conviction of 47 counts of money laundering, mail fraud, bribery and conspiracy.
The Attorney General's office said that McClain, as a state Senator in 2002, directed a $65,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs to an organization called the Community Resource Center in Jefferson County, of which Pettagrue was executive director. McClain notified Pettagrue that the grant money was coming and directed Pettagrue to divert $45,000 back to McClain. Pettagrue wrote a check for $45,000 to McClain, which McClain deposited into his checking account. Both men were aware that McClain was not entitled to the money and had done no work for it.
"The public corruption surrounding this case was an outrageous abuse of the people's trust, and an example of the great need for this office to have a good and effective working relationship with other law enforcement and prosecutors. I am pleased that the state charges in this matter have been resolved, and proud of the continuing good work of the Attorney General's Investigations Division and Public Corruption and White Collar Crime Division."