James to serve jail time

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 13, 2003

Hank James, former Dallas County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) director, was sentenced on Wednesday to three years in the state penitentiary for theft first degree. He will also serve a five-month federal sentence.

James, 52, who pled guilty to the charge at both the state and federal level, will present himself on Monday to the Bureau of Federal Prisons at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery to serve the federal sentence.

Upon concluding

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his five-month federal jail time, James will be transferred to state authorities to serve out his three-year state sentence.

The first degree theft charge was uncovered in an audit that found money from the EMA had been misused. An internal investigation by the Dallas County Commission revealed the financial irregularities. The missing funds were discovered by auditors with the Alabama Departments of Examiners of Public Accounts.

Greene said that during the course of the audit, it was discovered that James had set up an account at a local bank where he was depositing EMA, county, federal funds and citizens’ donations.

Approximately $44,000 in funds was misused.

James was suspended in March 2002 when it was discovered that the funds had been misused. He resigned shortly thereafter.

The following April, James was arrested after turning himself in at the Dallas County Jail.

In state court in December 2002, Circuit Judge Marvin Wiggins ordered a pre-sentence investigation of James. In the pre-sentence investigation, James admitted writing checks from the account after panicking because he was in financial straits. He added that he had every intention of repaying the money, but got in over his head.

James was the EMA’s director for 10 years before resigning. Some of his duties included E-911 emergency planning and severe weather warnings. He had also recently been named president of the International Association of Emergency Managers before his suspension.