Former Alabama Dem senator pleads guilty to felony theft
Former State Senator Zeb Little (D-Cullman) has been convicted of two counts of felony theft of property.
The announcement was made on Tuesday in a statement by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall.
Little, an attorney, admitted to unlawfully taking client funds from his trust account and on Friday pleaded guilty in Franklin County Circuit Court before specially-appointed Judge Terry Dempsey.
The investigation into Little began when a victim complained to the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office that money placed into Little’s trust account related to her father’s estate was stolen.
The Attorney General’s Criminal Trials Division subsequently presented evidence to a Cullman County grand jury on February 11, 2019, resulting in Little’s indictment for three counts of theft of property related to that victim.
On Thursday, September 19, Little was charged by the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office with another count of theft of property related to client trust funds stolen from additional victims.
An investigation revealed that on multiple occasions, Little was reportedly settling cases on behalf of clients that were plaintiffs in personal injury cases. He would inform the clients that a settlement had been reached and said that he would pay the medical bills from the settlement amount. However, instead of paying the medical bills, he transferred that portion of the settlement money to himself.
At a status hearing on Friday, Little agreed to plead guilty to two felony counts and pay restitution in the amount of $74,043.44.
Both counts are class B felonies and are controlled by the Alabama presumptive sentencing guidelines. Sentencing will be left to the discretion of the Court and will be held in Cullman County on a date that is not yet set.
“The victims in this case trusted Little to represent them,” Marshall lamented. “These victims needed help during a difficult time and went to Little searching for justice. Instead, they were victimized again by the greed of an individual who used his position of trust to enrich himself.”
“This type of conduct erodes at the trust that the people of Alabama should be able to place in members of the Alabama bar. It will not be tolerated,” he emphasized.
Little was a Democratic member of the Alabama State Senate, representing the 4th District, from 1998 to 2010. He was a leader within his party, even serving as the Senate majority leader from 2002-2010.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn