By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—A former Lowndes County mayor agreed last week to plead guilty to charges that he used his office for personal gain, marking another court victory for the Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Division.
Mosses Mayor Walter S. Hill pled guilty to using his office to direct town money, in the form of town checks, for personal uses, according to court filings. Hill faces sentencing on the Class B felony next month, Feb. 15. He faces a sentence of between two to 20 years’ imprisonment for the conviction.
Hill used his office as Mayor of the town of Mosses to siphon more than $25,000 to his personal bank account, which was located in Montgomery County, according to the Attorney General’s Office. Some of the payments were even used to pay Hill’s child support.
“Mr. Hill has committed flagrant abuses of the public trust and taxpayers’ money for too long,” said Attorney General Strange. “It is extremely important that this case has resulted in him no longer being in office.”
A court found Hill guilty of misdemeanor ethics charged back in 2014, but Hill remained mayor of Mosses. Alabama law prevents convicted felons from serving in any office, so Hill resigned last week before being automatically removed upon the certification of his guilty plea.
As part of his plea deal, Hill admitted to several instances of improper conduct as revealed through the Special Prosecution Division’s investigation.
The investigation showed that Hill used part of the money he stole from the town of Mosses to pay child support, created fraudulent records in an effort to hide the theft, gave himself six monthly stipends without any approval from the town and “reimbursed” himself for uninsured property he lost in a fire.
The total amount of the improper checks he wrote to himself amounted to $25,370.37, the Attorney General’s office said.
The guilty plea deal was arranged by Attorney General Luther Strange’s Special Prosecutions Division and Assistant Attorney General Katie Langer.
Langer and the Special Prosecutions Division, headed by Deputy Attorney Generals Matt Hart and Michael Duffy, have been in the headlines since the high-profile ethics conviction of former House Speaker Mike Hubbard, who was found guilty of 12 felony counts including charges that he used his office for personal gain.