Former DHR worker sentenced to jail

Published 6:06 pm Friday, December 12, 2008

A former Chilton County DHR employee has been sentenced to serve time in prison for multiple counts of felony ethics and theft convictions.

Darnell Owens, a former child support supervisor, was sentenced to 46 months, to run concurrently for each count. The sentence was split, with Owens ordered to serve 13 months in prison followed by a term of 24 months of probation.

The judge also ordered Owens to pay $2,500 in restitution, serve 250 hours of community service, reimburse the state of Alabama $5,000 for his public defender fees, and to pay $50 to the Alabama Crime Victims Compensation Fund.

Owens was found guilty by a jury in Chilton County Circuit Court on Nov. 5 on three counts of second-degree theft and three counts of intentional use of his public position for illegal personal gain.

“It is appropriate that Darnell Owens serve time in prison for his crimes,” Attorney General Troy King said. “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.”

The Attorney General’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 King’s office, resulting in an indictment by a Chilton County grand jury.

King commended Assistant Attorneys General Ben Baxley and Laura Irby 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 conclusion.