Former Chilton Co. DHR employee convicted

Attorney General Troy King announced the conviction Wednesday of a former Chilton County DHR employee for multiple counts of felony ethics and theft convictions.  Darnell Owens, a former child support supervisor, was found guilty by a jury in Chilton County Circuit Court following a trial that began on Monday.

"This man was a public employee, entrusted to carry out his department's mission and to handle child support funds.  He broke that trust by using his position to steal money that had been paid by parents for the support of children," said Attorney General King. "It is appropriate that Darnell Owens was convicted for his crimes, and will be held to account for his wrongdoing."

Attorney General King's Office presented evidence that Owens received payments for child support, of which he misappropriated funds totaling about $3,500.   After discrepancies were discovered within the Chilton County Department of Human Resources, the agency referred the matter to the State DHR and requested an internal audit. The case was subsequently referred to Attorney General King's Office, resulting in an indictment by a Chilton County grand jury.

Owens was convicted of three counts of intentional misuse of his public position for personal gain, and three counts of second-degree theft from the State Department of Human Resources.  Sentencing is set for December 11, when Owens faces a potential penalty of two to 20 years and fines of up to $10,000 for each ethics count, which are class B felonies; and one to 10 years and fines of up to $5,000 for each of the second-degree theft counts, which are class C felonies.

Attorney General King commended Assistant Attorneys General Ben Baxley and Laura Cuthbert of his Public Corruption and White Collar Crime Division and Special Agent Darrell Sambor of his Investigations Division, and thanked the Department of Human Resources and the office of Chilton County District Attorney Randall Houston for assistance in bringing this case to a successful conclusion.