MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – The former city clerk for Creola and Prichard pleaded guilty Friday to embezzling $400,030
Kim Wright Green pleaded guilty to two federal counts of embezzlement and one count of filing a false tax return. Prosecutors have agreed to recommend leniency in sentencing.
U.S. District Judge Terry Moorer allowed Green to remain free until her sentencing date on April 16.
"I don't feel it's necessary for you to sit in jail between now and the time I sentence you," he said.
The first count, stemming from Green’s time as city clerk in Creola from January 2013 to February 217, involved the theft of $241,581. She admitted that she fraudulently manipulated the payroll system in order to produce higher paychecks.
Green admitted that she used Christmas Club accounts as part of the scheme, depositing extra payroll funds into her own Christmas Club account. She also fraudulently transferred funds from the city’s general fund into other employees’ Christmas Club accounts and then again into her own account, according to her plea agreement.
In addition, court records show, Green used city funds to pay her personal phone bill and used the accounting system to disguise the payments.
Green, 49, also took funds paid by vendors and people paying court fees and bonds, according to the plea document.
The second offense involves conduct from Green’s tenure as Prichard city clerk from May 2017 to August of last year. The plea document states that her criminal conduct cost the city $158,449.
Green admitted that she created duplicate deposit slips and substituted cash with checks from other accounts. She diverted city funds, such as revenue from the general fund and municipal court system, into multiple personal accounts without authorization, according to the plea agreement.
Green also gambled city cash at casinos, according to the document.
In addition to the two embezzlement charges, Green also pleaded guilty to filing a false federal income tax return for 2015. She admitted that she listed her gross income as $57,341, failing to report an additional $56,000 that she had embezzled.
Green faces similar state charges. The Mobile County District Attorney’s Office has said the federal plea deal will not affect the state case.
Defense attorney James Byrd said he hopes Friday's plea will help resolve the state case, but he was otherwise circumspect.
“Everything went as well as expected,” he said after the hearing. “We had signed a plea agreement and the factual resume quite a while ago, and we expected this course of action.”