CHAMBERS COUNTY, AL (WTVM) - Chambers County Probate Judge Brandy Easlick has announced that a former employee of the Chambers County Probate Office has taken almost $300,000 of funds during their employment.
Judge Easlick said that over an almost year-long investigation with the State Auditor’s Office, it was found that Rene Hunt Welch took $299,861.68 over the course of her employment.
Welch is charged with first-degree theft of property.
“I take my job as the keeper of public funds very seriously and will prosecute her to the fullest extent of the law,” said Judge Easlick.
She also says she has been under an obligation to the auditing process to refrain from disclosing this information until this time.
The investigation is ongoing to make sure the Probate Office is in full compliance with the law.
Easley’s full statement:
"As your Probate Judge, I have always maintained transparency with the citizens of Chambers County. Whether the information was simply informative, good, bad or otherwise, I have vowed to remain transparent to the people of Chambers County about YOUR Probate Office and I continue to uphold my promise.
After almost a year long investigation with the State Auditors Office, it was discovered that a former employee of the Probate Office had circumvented the safeguards and internal controls I had in place and took $299,861.68 of the Probate Office funds during the course of her employment. Until now, I have been under strict obligation to protect the integrity of the audit process which prevented me from disclosing this to the public.
We have worked with and continue to work with the auditors to make sure that we are currently in full compliance not only with the investigation but with whatever additional safeguards they think we need to put in place since this has happened.
I take my job as the keeper of public funds very seriously and will prosecute her to the fullest extent of the law.
I appreciate forums like these to get information out to the public as well as the opportunity to serve Chambers County."