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Former clerk arrested again

McCord charged with tax evasion

POSTED: May 12, 2010 4:00 a.m.

Authorities have added tax evasion to the litany of charges against Dawson County’s embattled former clerk of courts.

  

Becky McCord, 61, was arrested early Monday morning at her home on felony warrants signed May 4 by Chief Magistrate Judge Lisa Thurmond.

  

The warrants contend McCord failed to report more than $148,000 on her joint 2008 and 2009 state income tax returns.

  

Had she reported the income, she would have owed about $9,000 to the state after calculated deductions, said Dawson County Sheriff’s Maj. John Cagle.

McCord is also charged with two misdemeanor counts of filing tax returns containing false statements.

  

She was released Monday afternoon on $22,000 bond, Sheriff’s Lt. Tony Wooten said.

  

Arrest warrants were also issued for her husband, Wayne, who faces one count each of tax evasion and filing a tax return containing false statements in connection with the 2009 return.

  

He was not at the couple’s Keith Evans Road home when deputies arrived Monday.

  

Authorities said they believe he knew the income amounts were false when he signed the 2009 joint return.

  

“But these are just the state charges,” said Cagle, who was meeting with the Internal Revenue Service and the FBI on Tuesday. “The federal investigation is ongoing.”

  

McCord’s arrest Monday came about three months after she was first booked in the Dawson County Jail for allegedly taking more than $140,000 from clerk of courts accounts intended for passport payments.

  

The longtime former clerk has been out on bond since her Feb. 11 arrest.

McCord, who had served as clerk since 1993 and resigned in mid-March, was initially charged with one count of theft by taking.

  

Authorities said she wrote more than $200,000 in checks to herself over several years from a clerk’s office passport account, though she was entitled only to about $77,000 of the money.

  

The probe into the missing funds expanded to include McCord after authorities learned Donna Sheriff, former chief clerk in the office, had written two dozen checks to a former contract worker on an escrow account used to hold cash bonds.

  

Sheriff, 42, was fired Jan. 26. She and the contract worker, 22-year-old Justin Disharoon of Dawsonville, have reportedly admitted taking nearly $82,000 from the clerk of court’s office.

  

The initial investigation led authorities to review an account the clerk of courts office set up with United Community Bank for fees paid to obtain passports.

  

Cagle said local authorities are continuing to work with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and “are taking this very seriously.”

  

According to court records, McCord’s criminal arraignment on the theft charge is set for May 18.

  

Pam Henson, who was appointed by the four judges of the Northeastern Judicial Circuit in late March, is serving as interim clerk until a special election to fill the post can be held July 20.

  

Ten candidates have qualified to seek the position.

 

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