Former MPS interim chief financial officer arrested

Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 2:47 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2021 at 4:24 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A former interim chief financial officer for the Montgomery Public Schools system has been arrested, according to Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office.

Brenda Palmer, 68, of Montgomery, surrendered at the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Monday and was charged with violating the state ethics law and for lying to an investigator with the AG’s office, Marshall’s office said in a statement.

The AG’s office said Palmer faces one count of using her official position for personal gain and one count of providing a false statement to an investigator with the Attorney General’s Office.

Specifically, the warrant alleges that Palmer used her position as interim Chief School Financial Officer for MPS to perpetrate a false invoicing scheme in which she and her accomplices stole $314,867.56 from the school system. The AG’s office said the offenses span a period between Aug. 2016 and April 2019.

When questioned by AG’s office investigators about her involvement with the false invoicing scheme, Palmer allegedly lied and denied any knowledge of the scheme.

Marshall’s office said if convicted, Palmer could spend between two to 20 years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $30,000 for the ethics charge, which is a class B felony; as well as one to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000 for the charge of providing a false statement to an AG investigator, a class C felony.

The case is being prosecuted by Attorney General Marshall’s Special Investigations Division.

Reached for comment, a spokesperson for Montgomery Public Schools, citing the ongoing investigation, deferred all questions about the matter to the attorney general’s office.

Montgomery school board member Jannah Bailey did speak with WSFA 12 News, however.

“I am just glad that there’s going to be some justice,” she said, “because MPS was really in some challenging times when this particular CFO was there. And it is only been brought to light because of (current CFO Arthur Watts) and (Superintendent Ann Roy Moore’s) team and their investigation in turning over some of the rocks that were there, some of the stuff that was hidden.”

Bailey added, “it didn’t happen overnight, and so some of the challenges we’re still working with, but I have no doubt that we’re going to get to our goals.”

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