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Theft suspect sentenced
Judge orders 2 years in prison
1 Disharoon Sentenced pic
Justin Disharoon was sentenced to two years in prison Tuesday for his role in the theft of county funds. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

A contract worker who admitted taking nearly $82,000 from the Dawson County Clerk of Courts office will spend the next two years in prison.

Justin Curtis Disharoon, 24, was sentenced Tuesday by Northeastern Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Kathlene Gosselin.

The remainder of the 10-year sentence will be served on probation.

Sentencing for co-defendant Donna Jeanette Sheriff, 44, has been delayed until Dec. 13 due to a court conflict.

There will also be a restitution hearing that day.

The two pleaded guilty in June 2010 to their roles in the theft from the office, where Sheriff had worked as chief deputy clerk under former Clerk of Courts Becky McCord.

According to court testimony, Sheriff wrote $81,775 in checks to Disharoon from an office account over a nine-month period.

"She was writing the checks to him. Then he'd take them to the bank, cash them and they'd split the funds," said Assistant District Attorney John Wilbanks.

Soon after Sheriff and Disharoon were arrested, authorities began investigating McCord, who is now serving a 24-month term in federal prison on tax evasion and bankruptcy charges.

McCord's state sentence of four years, which is in connection with the theft by taking and violation of oath of offices charges, runs concurrent with the federal time.

Sheriff's cooperation with investigators led to McCord's arrest and conviction, Wilbanks said in court Tuesday.

McCord pleaded guilty to funneling more than $140,000 from the clerk's office, where she had served for more than 17 years. She was arrested in February 2010 and resigned the next month.

Sentencing for Disharoon and Sheriff had been delayed until McCord's case was settled.

The state also closed a drunken driving case against Disharoon on Tuesday.

While the matters were not related, Wilbanks said he wanted to end the ongoing saga with Disharoon.

"Our agitation with Mr. Disharoon is that after [the theft case] happened he was arrested [again]," Wilbanks said.

"I'm glad to get him in front of a Superior Court judge for sentencing on this case today, because we're tired of dealing with all the other cases he's made for us."

Senior Assistant Public Defender Rob McNeill said his client has taken full responsibility for his actions.

In addition to jail time and his portion of the nearly $82,000 in restitution, Disharoon must pay $1,000 in fines, $300 in court costs and enroll in alcohol treatment.

Sentenced as a first offender, he must also perform 240 hours of community service and can have no contact with Sheriff.