Million-dollar thief freed after serving a third of his sentence

DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) – An Ashford woman who stole nearly $1 million, leaving a Houston County business destitute, has been released from prison after serving about a third of her 10-year sentence. She began this prison term in December 2018.

Starla Ruth Ingram, 61, left Houston County Community Corrections, a work release program, this week by order of the Alabama Department of Corrections.

Among businessman John Summerford’s most trusted employees, Ingram methodically stole up to $4,000 a week from him and his trucking company, prosecutors say.

Testimony revealed Ingram was so sneaky she prayed with Summerford for a windfall as he struggled to make payroll, putting dozens of employees at risk.

Ingram, who stole about $950,000, used the money to live lavishly, buy expensive gifts and give his church a testimony revealed.

Under the work release program, Ingram paid Summerford $1,000 per month and court costs and is ordered to continue making those payments. At this rate, it would take her up to 96 years to pay the full $410,000 she owes.

Ingram and her family paid some of what she owed before she went to jail.

She did not have to repay the full $950,000 because the statute of limitations had expired for some of the thefts.

Ingram’s release after serving only part of his sentence is not unusual among nonviolent offenders.

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