County administrator placed on leave convicted of crimes in Franklin County

Published 7:39 pm Monday, March 19, 2018

From staff reports

Attorney General Steve Marshall announced that the former county administrator of Franklin County was convicted of two felony ethics law violations involving $753,889 of county funds.

Crista Lynn Madden, age 48, of Franklin County, pleaded guilty March 19 in Franklin County Circuit Court.

Madden had been in the same position with the Chilton County Commission before the group called an emergency meeting on March 1 and placed her on administrative leave.

The decision came following an executive session.

Three resolutions were also approved shortly after, including removing Madden from all county accounts.

Madden had been in the role of county administrator for the past six months. She had spent the past 25 years in Franklin County as an accountant and administrator.

Chairman Allen Caton closed that meeting by releasing the following statement:

“The Chilton County Commission was made aware of an ongoing investigation of Crista Madden by the attorney general’s office. At this time the investigation is unrelated to Chilton County. Pending the outcome of this investigation, Mrs. Madden has been placed on administrative leave from her duties as county administrator.”

Madden was arrested and pleaded guilty by way of information March 19 to one count of Use of Official Position for Personal Gain and one count of Use of Equipment for Personal Gain. The plea was taken in front of specially appointed Circuit Judge Pride Tompkins.

In December of 2007, Madden began a scheme by which she generated false records of checks and then made the originals payable to herself. She would create a false purchase order for a fictitious vendor and generate a check payable to that company.

Before printing the check, she placed a strip of tape on the paper where the name for payee would be printed.

For county records, she would make a copy of the check that showed the company name. She then removed the tape from the original and reprinted the check with her own name listed as payee. The check was then deposited into her personal account.  

She continued this scheme until she left the position in July of 2017, depositing a total of $753,889 in various private bank accounts that she held.  

The matter was discovered in an audit by the Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts and investigated by special agents of the attorney general’s office. After being confronted by special agents, Madden gave a full confession to both offenses.

“The people of Alabama deserve honest and trustworthy service from public employees and officials, and as attorney general I am committed to prosecute those who abuse their positions for illegal personal gain,” said Marshall.

“For nearly a decade, Crista Madden systematically plundered funds that belonged to Franklin County and betrayed her public trust. Due to the vigilance of the Examiners of Public Accounts, her crimes were discovered and reported to my office. I want to commend the outstanding work by Assistant Attorneys General Katie Langer and Chris Moore of my Criminal Trials Division and special agents of the newly-formed Cybercrime Lab in my Investigations Division for bringing this case to a successful conclusion.”

Madden faces a penalty of two to 20 years for each of the class B felonies and is required to pay full restitution to Franklin County.