Panama City employee fired for fraud

Local News

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — A Panama City city employee has been arrested and fired from his position after reports of misconduct and fraud.

According to police, Alton Hester gave an out of state business an occupational license so the company could assist in Hurricane Michael cleanup.

Hester served as the head of the licensing department for the city of Panama City from 2011 until being let go on October 1.

Hester’s termination letter

The report says Hester changed the issue date, business information, and occupation license number for the business. The license was issued on April 4, 2019.

Due to his actions, the city was defrauded of $100.

Multiple people were listed as witnesses to the alleged crime but one person was listed as ‘involved.’ That person is Joseph Branch.

According to Florida Corporations Website, sunbiz.org, Branch is the owner of F-5 Land Clearing LLC. However, the agent’s name on the license is Alton Hester.

After Hurricane Katrina, Branch was charged with other fraudulent actions, pled guilty and served time for the incident.

As of Thursday night, Branch has not been arrested in connection to this incident in Bay County.

Hester is facing charges of official misconduct, forgery, and petit theft.

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