Ex Murray Clerk pleads guilty to stealing $100,000
CHATSWORTH, Georgia (WDEF) – Kermi Tina Ledford has pleaded guilty to theft of government funds by an employee.
She was a chief clerk for the Murray County Probate Court.
That gave her responsibility over all of the finances for the court, like collection fines, cash bonds from the jail and putting them in the bank.
Prosecutors says Ledford started taking cash payments made to the court sometime before 2010.
They estimate the missing money came to $100,000 but they can’t really be sure because the records were altered.
She was getting away with it until the county began moving to new accounting software which found discrepancies.
The software company installed a trigger subroutine that discovered that Ledford was deleting entries.
When investigators finally confronted her, she admitted to taking $100 to pay a power bill.
But the GBI investigation found much more.
The bond money was missing before cases even went to court.
They found cash and money wrappers from court at her house.
They found even more cash in her vehicle, plus more cash receipts.
$45 thousand had been deposited in her personal checking account, which were used for her mortgage and vehicle loans.
They also gathered evidence from her Facebook page on her extensive travel and entertainment beyond her means.
She was out of town every other weekend in 2016.
When the county fired her, the deposits into her account immediately stopped. And the County suddenly started clearing $4,600 more a month.
Ledford denied stealing the money and was set to go to trial in three weeks.
Instead, she entered a guilty plea this week.
She was sentenced to a year in prison and pay the county back the $100,000.
Ledford has agreed to forfeit her retirement benefits for ten years to pay it.