LaDonna Smallwood Montgomery Hitt of 100 City Lake Drive in Russellville was indicted by the May Franklin County grand jury. The 46 year old former Red Bay resident turned herself in Monday morning. Montgomery-Hitt is accused of taking at least 25K between May 2009 and May 2012 from Russellville Municipal Court coffers. The exact amount may never be known since there is a three year statute of limitations on the crime.
Specifically, Montgomery-Hitt is accused of pocketing bail money paid by Russellville inmates and changing their records to show they were released on time served. From May 2012 when the fraud was first revealed until November 2012 when the forensic audit was completed, Montgomery-Hitt was on paid leave. It’s not known if she will now be required to repay the six months’ salary.
Due to conflicts of interest, the ABI investigated the alleged crime and Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly is prosecuting the case. Montgomery-Hitt posted 5K bond and is now free until her trial date. If convicted of First Degree Theft, Montgomery-Hitt faces a sentence of two to 20 years. Russellville mayor David Grissom has stated he’s not able to comment due to the ongoing litigation and possible civil suit.
In 2002, Montgomery-Hitt was named Florence dispatcher of the year. She left the Florence police force to work for the City of Russellville when it resurrected its Municipal court in 2005. Statistics show that most crimes classified under the general umbrella of embezzlement are committed by women.
Update: Hitt has been sentenced to serve one year on probation and to repay the missing money.