Talladega Mayor Convicted of Fraud, Ousted
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) _ Talladega’s three-term mayor was convicted of fraud and thrown out of office for cashing $5,000 in city checks that were made out to a phony tree surgeon.
Federal jurors deliberated for about 11 hours over three days before convicting Larry Barton on Wednesday of one count of fraud and 26 counts of money laundering.
Under state law, Barton was automatically ousted from office. He faces up to 56 months in prison when he is sentenced April 22. He was allowed to remain free on bond pending appeal.
According to prosecutors, Barton repeatedly cashed checks issued by the city to ″Jerry Jackson.″ Barton claimed Jackson was an itinerant tree cutter who removed stumps around town in late 1992 and early 1993.
But no one at City Hall ever saw Jackson, and prosecutors said the work was performed by local tree services and Barton invented Jackson. The Social Security number that Barton claimed was Jackson’s turned out to be fake.
Barton served as mayor from 1979 to 1987 and was elected to a third term in 1991.
Talladega is a town of 18,000 in east-central Alabama.