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Clerk of courts theft case nears end

POSTED: September 14, 2011 4:00 a.m.

The sentencing hearing for former Dawson County Clerk of Courts Becky McCord is scheduled for today in federal court in Gainesville.

McCord, 64, pleaded guilty to federal tax evasion and bankruptcy fraud charges in June.

She faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.

The federal inquiry into her personal finances stemmed from McCord's arrest in February 2010.

She allegedly took nearly $120,000 from the Dawson County Clerk of Courts office, where she had served for more than 17 years. McCord resigned the next month.

According to the arrest warrant, McCord wrote thousands of dollars in checks to herself between 2006-10 from a passport account set up through her office.

Authorities say she was entitled to nearly $78,000 in fees paid to the office for issuing passports between 2004-09, yet the checks she wrote on the account totaled more than $200,000.

Prosecutors also expect to resolve the state's theft case later this week.

A plea hearing is scheduled at 10 a.m. Friday in Dawsonville.

Earlier this summer, McCord's lead counsel Bruce Harvey said his client regrets her actions.

"She wants to thank the community that supported and elected her to serve for so many years," Harvey said. "She is real regretful and remorseful."

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 court's account.

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

Their sentencing has been delayed until McCord's case is settled.

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