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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Affidavit: Former Hartselle Utilities employee fraudulently purchased motor

    Blogger Opinion:  More arrests like this is coming in a city near you. 
    HARTSELLE — The theft case against a former Hartselle Utilities employee arrested earlier this month accuses him of using the company’s charge account to purchase a vehicle engine, court records show.
    James Arnold Taylor Still, 46, of Cullman, is accused of fraudulently purchasing the $6,267 motor using HU’s charge account at O’Reilly Auto Parts, 301 U.S. 31, on Oct. 28, Hartselle Police Department Investigator Tania Burgess wrote in an arrest affidavit.
    The account was set up for purchasing parts for HU vehicles, but the engine was not compatible with any of the company’s property, Burgess wrote.
    Still, who declined comment, is accused of stealing about $30,000 from HU, though not all details of the items allegedly paid for with HU money are listed in court records, said Lt. Justin Barley, of the HPD criminal investigation division.
    “My understanding is that everything in question was done in the same manner as the fraudulent purchasing of the engine,” Barley said. “As far as total amounts, anything over $2,500 fits the charge, and that’s all we need to establish in the affidavit.”
    Still turned himself in to authorities May 13 on a warrant for first-degree theft, a Class B felony.
    “The exact items and total amount are going to be more determined between now and the time the case is settled or goes to trial,” Barley said.
    HU did an audit before filing a report with Hartselle police May 3, but authorities still are working to determine whether any other charges on the account were fraudulent, Barley said.
    HU General Manger Bob Sittason, who filed the complaint, declined to comment on the case or whether the company fired any employees.
    “I can’t comment due to the ongoing investigation,” Sittason said.
    “There were legitimate transactions going on at the same time, so the investigation is ongoing to determine what was or wasn’t,” he said.
    Hartselle police Chief Ron Puckett has said police are looking at a second former employee as a suspect in connection with the theft.
    Still was released from Morgan County Jail the day of his arrest on $15,000 bail.
    If convicted, Still faces two to 20 years in prison and up to $30,000 in fines. He also could be ordered to pay restitution to HU if convicted. or 256-340-2443. Twitter @aremkus1.

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