County coroner arrested, charged with theft, theft by deception

Published 6:26pm Monday, November 4, 2013

Elmore County Coroner Tim Ellison turned himself into the county sheriff’s department Monday afternoon after being indicted by a grand jury charging him with theft, theft by deception and intentional use of his official position as coroner for personal gain.

The indictment comes more than a year after the Alabama Ethics Commission found suitable cause to turn an investigation alleging Ellison was over charging the Elmore County Commission, the City of Wetumpka, the City of Tallassee and the City of Millbrook for transporting bodies to the Department of Forensic Sciences so he would profit from the service.

Ellison was released from the Elmore County Jail Monday afternoon on a $35,000 bond.

State Ethics Commission director Jim Sumner told the Herald in April 2012 that Ellison had hired a Montgomery company to handle the transport of the bodies.

“They’d charge for it, and he’d inflate the charge three or four times (to local govnernments) and put the difference in his pocket,” Sumner told the Herald.

The ethics complaint was filed in November 2011.

“I have always been honest and open and I’ll contine to be,” Ellison told the Herald after the county commission confirmed the complaint in 2011.

If convicted of a felony, Ellison would have to vacate his position as county coroner at the time he was convicted.

Ellison was asked Monday night if he was going to resign as coroner and he said “didn’t want to make a statement as this time.”

Also charged in the indictment is Hillside Mortuary director Yancey Mitchell.

He was indicted and charged with one count of making a false statement, aiding and abetting Ellison in second-degree theft and aiding and abetting Ellison in the intentional use of Ellison’s official office for personal gain.

Mitchell also turned himself into the Elmore County Sheriff’s Department and was later released on an $18,000 bond.

Ellison’s charges are:

• Count one: second-degree theft of property by unauthorized control of checks valued between $500 and $2,500 from the City of Millbrook, which is a class C felony;

• Count two: second-degree theft of property by deception of checks valued between $500 and $2,500 from the City of Millbrook, which is a class C felony;

• Count three: second-degree theft of property by unauthorized control of checks valued between $500 and $2,500 from the City of Tallassee, which is a class C felony;

• Count four: second-degree theft of property by deception of checks valued between $500 and $2,500 from the City of Tallassee, which is a class C felony;

• Count five:  second-degree theft of property by unauthorized control of checks valued between $500 and $2,500 from the City of Wetumpka, which is a class C felony;

• Count six:  second-degree theft of property by deception of checks valued between $500 and $2,500 from the City of Wetumpka, which is a class C felony;

• Count seven: second-degree theft of property by unauthorized control of checks valued between $500 and $2,500 from the Elmore County Commission, which is a class C felony;

• Count eight:  second-degree theft of property by deceptionof checks valued between $500 and $2,500 from the Elmore County Commission, which is a class C felony;

• Count nine: third-degree theft of property by unauthorized control of checks valued at up to $500 from the State of Alabama, which is a class A misdemeanor.

• Count 10: third-degree theft of property by deception of checks valued at up to $500 from the State of Alabama, which is a class A misdemeanor;

• Count 11: intentional use of his official position for personal gain in violation of the state ethics law, which is a class B felony.

Mitchell’s charges are:

• Count one: that in a matter under investigation by the Attorney General’s Office, he knowingly made a false statement to an agent of the Attorney General which is a class C felony;

• Count two: that he aided or abetted Ellison in second-degree theft of property by unauthorized control of checks valued between $500 and $2,500 from the City of Tallassee, which is a class C felony;

• Count three: that he aided or abetted Ellison in second-degree theft of property by deception of checks valued between $500 and $2,500 from the City of Tallassee, which is a class C felony;

• Count four: that he aided or abetted Ellison in third-degree theft of property by unauthorized control of checks valued at less than $500 from the Elmore County Commission, which is a class A misdemeanor;

• Count five: that he aided or abetted Ellison in third-degree theft of property by deception of checks valued at less than $500 from the Elmore County Commission, which is a class A misdemeanor;

• Count six: that he aided or abetted Ellison in the intentional use of Ellison’s official position for personal gain in violation of the state ethics law, which is a class B felony.

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