By DOTTY NIST
The two Walton County employees who had been arrested in November for alleged illegal actions are now being prosecuted by the Office of the State Attorney Bill Eddins.
Although separate, the two arrests had taken place on Nov. 17, and the two employees are reportedly not related, although they share the same last name.
Ella Mae Walters, Walton County human resources director, turned herself in and was initially charged with official misconduct, false and fraudulent insurance claims, and falsifying records. According to a Nov. 17 news release by the Walton County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO), it was determined with the assistance of Florida Department of Financial Services Bureau of Insurance Fraud that Walters had filed three insurance claims for Christopher C. Byrd, who was listed as a dependent on her dental insurance coverage—and that, based on his date of birth (Jan. 12, 1964) and additional documents provided, Byrd did not qualify as a dependent for Ella Mae Walters.
Brian James Walters, a Walton County Public Works employee, was also arrested on Nov. 17, after allegedly stealing asphalt and falsifying activity logs while working as a dump truck driver.
“Walters used his position as a government employee with Walton County Public Works to steal materials meant for county use, and instead used them for his own gain,” Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson stated in a Nov. 17 news release.
Brian Walters was initially charged with official misconduct and petit theft for allegedly obtaining two loads of milled asphalt for his own use and turning in an incorrect activity record in connection with the loads of asphalt. This was considered falsification of an official record. It was noted that Walton County pays $150 for each load of milled asphalt.
In response to a Dec. 28 inquiry about the two cases, WCSO Public Information Officer Corey Dobridnia stated that both cases were currently being handled by the Office of the State Attorney.
Dobridnia also indicated that there was a warrant for the arrest of Christopher C. Byrd, the person who was reported to have received benefits through insurance claims filed by Ella Mae Walters.
Ella Mae Walters is facing charges filed in Walton County Circuit Court in early December by the state attorney’s office, including insurance fraud, official misconduct, and altering, defacing or falsifying a document.
She filed a written not guilty plea on Dec. 4.
As of Dec. 8, Brian Walters is facing charges of official misconduct and grand theft ($300 or more but less than $5,000). He has also filed a written plea of not guilty.