Former Clay County schools bookkeeper faces multiple felony theft charges

A former bookkeeper with Clay County schools was arrested last week, charged with several felonies and accused of stealing $57,000 from the school district. The bookkeeper resigned last year while she was being investigated and said she did not intentionally take any money, instead pointing to poor paperwork and recordkeeping, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Law enforcement sees it differently and the state charged her last week with grand theft, uttering a forged instrument and running a scheme to defraud.

The multiple charges come in because of the manner in which these Clay County Theft Crimes were allegedly committed. For example, police say the woman forged receipts and paperwork that made it look like she paid for school expenses with her own money, though in reality she use a school credit card, the newspaper reported. That likely led to the charge of uttering a forged instrument, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. In Clay County Theft Cases, the uttering charge that is always a third-degree felony is more the exception than the rule. In most all other Clay County theft cases, the charge and the potential penalty are based on the value of the property the suspect is accused of stealing. Theft itself can be a misdemeanor or run all the way up to a first-degree felony.

The same escalating scale applies in the scheme to defraud charge the woman is also facing in this Clay County Theft Case. According to Florida law a scheme to defraud is” a systematic, ongoing course of conduct with intent to defraud one or more persons, or with intent to obtain property from one or more persons by false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises or willful misrepresentations of a future act.” Because she is accused of taking $57,000, she can be charged with a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in state prison. She narrowly exceeded the threshold – anything from $20,000 to $50,000 is a second-degree felony with a maximum sentence of 15 years in state prison. A scheme to defraud that the state says netted less than $20,000 is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

The scheme to defraud charge in a Clay County Theft Case is often used to bring several charges under one umbrella. Similar charges were filed earlier this year against a Clay County Clerk of Courts employee accused of stealing and pawning computer equipment. Our Clay County Theft Attorney is experienced in all types of theft cases and has represented people facing a variety of theft charges.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Clay County Theft Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.