ABI: Former manager took $40K+

Published 12:05 am Saturday, September 22, 2012

Former Florala Utilities Board manager Lynn Hughes was jailed Thursday for stealing more than $40,000 by issuing extra paychecks to herself as well as checks for family insurance coverage.

Hughes, 52, was arrested Thursday on two counts of theft of property I and two counts of using her official position for personal gain.

The arrest came after other utility board staff allegedly found numerous accounting discrepancies following Hughes’ termination earlier this month for insubordination. The board then sought law enforcement assistance, and at the request of the Florala Police Department, the Alabama Bureau of Investigation was brought in to investigate.

Court records show Hughes is accused of stealing $40,143 from September 2007 to August 2012.

“(ABI was) provided documentation which suggested that Hughes had manipulated utility board accounts to obtain Blue Cross and Blue Shield family coverage benefits at no cost to her…and did not include those benefits in the audit trail report,” the statement read. Those benefits totaled $31,892, and as a result, Hughes used her public office for personal gain, the statement read.

Additionally, the records showed that between June 2009 to September 2012, Hughes allegedly paid herself “additional payments not due to her” totaling $8,251.

Hughes, 52, was booked into the Covington County Jail and later released on a $120,000 bond.

Trooper Kevin Cook, spokesman for the Department of Public Safety and ABI, said again on Friday the investigation remains ongoing, and no new information could officially be released.