Ala. Court Clerk Avoids Jail in $65K Theft

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RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. (AP) -- A former municipal court clerk will avoid prison after pleading guilty to stealing thousands of dollars from the city of Russellville.

A Franklin County judge approved a suspended jail sentence during a hearing Friday for 46-year-old LaDonna Hitt Montgomery of Russellville.

Reports say Montgomery pleaded guilty to theft and repaid more than $65,000 to the city as part of a plea agreement.

The Russellville City Council fired the woman in November after a forensic audit of city funds. She had been the city's court clerk since 2005.

Montgomery was accused of taking cash payments that inmates made to pay fines. In return, some were given credit for having served jail time they faced.

Investigators say Montgomery is accused of changing records to cover up the missing money.

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