Prosecutors file charges against owner of Gadsden-Etowah EMS

The owner of Gadsden-Etowah EMS now faces criminal charges for failing to pay his employees.

Etowah County prosecutors issued warrants for the arrest of Roger Dale Stanmore on four counts of negotiating a worthless instrument.

"I'm sure he'll either turn himself in or we'll be glad to give him a ride," district attorney Jimmie Harp said.

Harp said it appears Stanmore wrote bad checks to his employees, "knowing the money was not there to cover those checks."

Ambulance workers walked off the job February 21 after several weeks without pay.{} Several members of the staff told ABC 33/40 the last checks they received bounced.

"It's troublesome to me that these checks were payroll checks," Harp said.

"These folks worked their shifts and did their time, especially first responders, who we count on so much in this community.{} Those were checks that were used to pay bills for those people, buy groceries, buy medicine, take care of kids, and those [bad checks] disrupt the family.{} I find that typically disturbing."

Harp said the workers are entitled to payment for the work they did.{} Several contacted the Etowah County worthless checks unit and filed complaints.

Investigators said there is a process before they can file charges, with requirements which include certified mailings.{} Four of the employees completed that process, and Harp said if other employees want to do so and sign warrants, his office will prosecute.

Stanmore filed for Chapter XI bankruptcy February 26, but Harp said Stanmore can still be prosecuted for writing bad checks prior to the filing.

"The bankruptcy code may have something to do with how we collect the money or when that money is collected but it does not preclude a victim in this case from swearing out a warrant and asking this court to find him guilty of the crime of writing a bad check itself," Harp said.

Stanmore also owned and operated Decatur Regional EMS, near Huntsville.{} Employees there walked off the job earlier in February.{} Harp said prosecutors in that area may also file