Ex-Dawson County court clerk admits stealing $120K
Dawson County’s longtime court clerk admitted today to stealing $120,000 of court funds from 2006 through 2009.
Becky McCord, 62, faces up to 10 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to federal tax evasion and bankruptcy fraud. No sentencing date has been set.
McCord, who served as clerk of Dawson County Superior Court from 1993 until her resignation last year, admitted using more than $120,000 in public money to make payments on her car and house loans and for other personal uses.
The full news release from the U.S. Attorney’s office follows:
FORMER DAWSON COUNTY PUBLIC OFFICIAL PLEADS GUILTY
TO FEDERAL TAX EVASION AND BANKRUPTCY FRAUD CHARGES
McCord Embezzled Over $120,000 in Public Funds While
Clerk of Court for Dawson County Superior Court
GAINESVILLE, GA – BECKY M. MCCORD, 62, of Dawsonville, Georgia, pleaded guilty today to one count of federal tax evasion and one count of bankruptcy fraud before United States Magistrate Judge Susan Cole. McCORD admitted that while working as the Clerk of Court for Dawson County Superior Court, she stole more than $120,000 of county monies and failed to pay taxes on the additional income or report it on her pending bankruptcy petition.
United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “In this time of tight budgets and fiscal austerity, the harm caused by corrupt public officials is magnified. This Dawson County court employee abused her position of trust and will soon face the consequences of her criminal actions.”
Brian D. Lamkin, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta, said, “The FBI understands the harm done by individuals betraying their public trust and, as such, ensures that these types of allegations are given the attention that they deserve. Anyone with information concerning criminal conduct of public officials should not hesitate to contact their nearest FBI office.”
IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Reginael McDaniel said, “Instead of serving the public of Dawson County, the defendant in this case chose to instead serve herself to the public’s funds and then not report the ill gotten gains on her tax returns. Those who line their pockets with public monies should know they will not go undetected and will be held accountable.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: McCORD served as the Clerk of Court for the Superior Court of Dawson County, Georgia, from 1993 to February 2010. Between 2006 and 2009, McCORD wrote and signed over $120,000 worth of checks payable to herself from the Dawson County Superior Court’s bank account to which she was not entitled. McCORD then cashed those checks at various banks in Dawsonville and used the funds for personal expenses such as a car loan and mortgage payments.
McCORD did not report the stolen funds on her 2009 federal tax return nor did she report additional legitimate income that she received from the collection of passport fees. McCORD also failed to report this income on a bankruptcy petition that she filed jointly with her spouse in December 2007, and amended several times through June 2009.
McCORD could receive a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. In determining an appropriate sentence, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.
A date for McCORD’s sentencing has not yet been scheduled before United States District Judge William C. O’Kelley.
This case is being investigated by Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office.
Assistant United States Attorneys Steven D. Grimberg and Stephanie Gabay-Smith are prosecuting the case.