September 26, 2019–7:48 a.m.
A former Cherokee County corrections officer has been indicted by a Cherokee County Grand Jury in connection with a case involving the theft of funds from the Sheriff’s Office and the County Commission.
Stephen Studdard, age 48 from Centre, was arrested on Tuesday of this week and booked in at the Cherokee County Detention Center, on a two count Grand Jury Indictment for Theft of Property 1st Degree. Studdard was tasked with handling inmate monies used to make purchases from the jail commissary and is accused of taking funds from that account.
Those missing funds are profits from the jail commissary and medical co-pays – making the Sheriff’s Office and County Commission both victims in this case.
According to Sheriff Jeff Shaver, the theft was discovered by the Sheriff’s Office in a routine internal financial audit. In addition to the required public account audits conducted by the Alabama Department of Public Examiners, the Sheriff’s Office contracts with a retired examiner to conduct more frequent internal audits.
According to Sheriff Shaver “without this, it could’ve been much later before the crime was discovered.” He added, “Upon discovery of the theft, we immediately contacted the District Attorney’s Office to conduct a follow-up investigation and prosecute the case.”
Studdard has since been released from jail – his bond was set at $10,000.