Terminated Jacksonville Transportation Authority manager arrested for grand theft

A manager at JTA, or Jacksonville Transportation Authority, is facing a felony charge of grand theft.  According to a report in the Florida Times Union, the man stole over $300,000.00 from the Authority.  Part of the manager’s duties included being involved in real estate transactions, according to the article.  The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is alleging that the man diverted funds that belonged to the authority to his personal bank account.  The alleged illegally obtained funds total $394,624.65.  The manager was arrested for grand theft of an amount over $100,000, which makes the charge a first degree felony punishable by up to thirty years in prison.

Grand theft charges in Jacksonville vary depending on the amount of money or the value of the property stolen.  In this case, because the amount is over $100,000, it is considered a first degree felony, which is the most serious level.  If the value of property or money stolen is $20,000 or more but less than $100,000, the theft is a second degree felony.  If the amount is $300 or over but less than $20,000, it is a third degree felony.  Any amount under $300 is a misdemeanor, which is handled in county court.

The manager’s bond is set at $300,003.  That bond is subject to what is called a “Nebia” hearing.  When a crime involves a lot of money, such as theft of the money or being accused of being a drug dealer, courts can require this hearing to find out where bond funds would be coming from.  The government does not want an accused suspect to use illegally obtained money to bond out of jail. Even if the case is eventually dropped, the suspect may still have to show where exactly the money is coming from.

In cases such as the manager’s, the State Attorney’s Office first has to decide whether they have a reasonable certainty of conviction.  If so, they will file formal charges.  When negotiating a possible disposition, the State considers punishing the defendant as well as making the victim whole through the payment of restitution.  Putting someone in jail or prison will certainly limit their ability to pay future restitution because they will be unable to look for work or work while incarcerated.

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 Jacksonville Theft Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.