Etowah County personnel director arrested for ID theft

Etowah County deputies arrested the county's personnel director for identity theft.

Jennifer Ann Taylor, 38, is charged with identity theft and computer tampering.{} Both are felonies with a penalty{}of one to 10 years in prison.{} A judge set a property bond of $5,000.

Someone filed a complaint with the sheriff's office last month about having their identity stolen.{} Deputies spent the past two weeks investigating and Sheriff Todd Entrekin said evidence led to the Etowah County Courthouse.

"We traced it back to a computer in the Etowah County personnel office.{} That was the basis of the search warrant was to get computers and some records in the personnel office," Entrekin said.

"We conducted that search this morning and turned up some records that we needed."

Entrekin said{}this is the first time in his 31 years in law enforcement in Etowah County that his office conducted a criminal investigation inside the courthouse.{} Investigators seized computers and questioned Taylor, who became personnel director in 2011.

"As far as what I've been told, she's accepted responsibility for her actions," Etowah County district attorney Jimmie Harp said.

He{}said it appeared Taylor stole the victim's identity using a background check.{}{}Investigators did not identify the victim, but said the person is not a county employee and the background check was not part of a job application.

Sheriff Entrekin{}said this is an isolated incident and the public should not worry about any other problems with the personnel office or records.

"This all forms around one victim and we don't have any reason to believe that this will go anywhere else," Entrekin said.

"We've got the files.{} We're looking.{} We've been at it for two weeks and we don't have anybody out there that we suspect their identities have been stolen."

Etowah County Commission CEO Patrick Simms said Taylor will be on paid administrative leave until further notice as the investigation is ongoing.