Authorities say a longtime employee took nearly $82,000 over the last 10 months from the Dawson County Clerk of Court’s office.
Donna Jeanette Sheriff, 42, of Dawsonville was arrested Monday afternoon and charged with a single count of theft by taking, said Dawson County Sheriff’s Lt. Tony Wooten. The charge is a felony.
Sheriff, who had worked in the clerk’s office since November 1994 and most recently served as chief deputy clerk under Clerk of Courts Becky McCord, was fired Friday, McCord said.
Also arrested on the same charge Monday was Justin Curtis Disharoon, 22, of Dawsonville.
The investigation unfolded after local law enforcement learned that Sheriff had reportedly written 24 checks to Disharoon between March 31, 2009, and Jan. 26.
Information obtained by the Dawson Community News under an open records request shows that Disharoon was a paid contract laborer with the Clerk of Courts office between June 2008 and May 2009.
The checks were written on an escrow account the clerk’s office uses to hold cash bonds, McCord said.
McCord learned of the alleged thefts from law enforcement early last week.
“The employee has been terminated,” she said. “I’m sorry it’s happened and we’ll go forward from here.”
Both suspects have cooperated with investigators, according to Wooten.
McCord said the suspects’ families are working to repay the money to the court.
“I’m being told they’ll have it paid back in the next few weeks,” she said.
Sheriff was released Monday from the Dawson County Law Enforcement Center on $40,200 bond, according to jail records.
Disharoon remains in custody. Bond has not been set.