Court clerk pleads guilty to federal fraud charges

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that a county clerk in Georgia has been sentenced to two years in federal prison after pleading guilty to tax evasion and bankruptcy fraud. According to the charges filed against the woman, she had written checks to herself out of the Superior Court’s bank account.

The investigation began when the woman’s niece, also a former county court clerk, was arrested for issuing a check to a contractor out of an account that was intended for holding cash bonds. The niece and the contractor also pled guilty to theft charges.

Apparently, the woman had cashed the checks at local banks and used them to pay her mortgage and car loans as well as other personal expenses.

The alleged conduct also gave rise to state criminal charges to theft by taking. The federal charges resulted from the woman’s failure to report the funds on her federal tax return. She was also accused of failing to report about $24,000 in legitimate income. When the woman filed for bankruptcy in 2007, her bankruptcy petition also omitted the illicit funds.

It is not surprising that allegedly taking money from an employer would lead to state embezzlement or theft charges. It may have been less obvious to the woman however that she might face federal charges for failing to report the funds to the IRS.

In addition to the two year sentence, the woman was also sentenced to an additional three years of supervised release, a $10,000 fine and restitution to the IRS in the amount of $51,611.

Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution “Ex-Dawson court clerk gets prison for tax evasion, bankruptcy fraud,” David Ibata, Sept. 14, 2011