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Plea near in clerk’s federal case

POSTED: April 26, 2011 3:33 p.m.

GAINESVILLE — A financial discrepancy appears to have delayed the guilty plea federal prosecutors were expecting Tuesday morning in the tax evasion and bankruptcy fraud case against an ex-Dawson County official.

 

Jeff Talley, one of the attorneys for former Clerk of Courts Becky McCord, said the plea agreement the U.S. Attorney’s office presented his client was different than he expected.

 

“This may be my fault,” Talley said. “I’d rather err on the side of caution.”

Talley said there was a disagreement over the amount listed as McCord’s unreported income.

 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Grimberg told U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Cole he sent the plea agreement to McCord’s lead attorney, Bruce Harvey, on Friday and made one change Harvey requested.

 

“As far as I knew, it was a done deal,” he said.

 

Talley said there will be a plea at a later date.

 

McCord, 62, was arrested in February 2010 after she reportedly took more than $119,000 from the county between 2006 and ‘10.

 

She was indicted in the state case last May.

 

While that case has not gone to trial, the investigation revealed McCord had failed to report the funds on her federal income tax and during a bankruptcy hearing, which prompted the federal charges.

 

During her first appearance in federal court Tuesday morning, McCord waived arraignment and signed a waiver of indictment. Cole set her bond at $10,000.

 

According to Cole, McCord cannot travel outside the state’s northern district and must abide by standard probation conditions while on bond.

 

McCord was processed by U.S. marshals before she was allowed to post bond and leave the courthouse.

 

A new plea date has not been set.

 

Once a plea is entered, the case will be assigned to Senior U.S. District Judge William C. O’Kelley for sentencing, Cole said.

 

Dawson authorities began investigating McCord after learning Donna Sheriff, her chief deputy clerk, had written two dozen checks to a former contract worker on a courts account.

 

Both Sheriff and the contract worker, Justin Disharoon, pleaded guilty to theft charges last June.

 

Sentencing was delayed until McCord’s case could go to trial. Both were expected to testify against her, prosecutors said.

 

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