February 23, 2024

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Business is my step

Durango previous finance director sentenced to jail for embezzlement

4 min read

The town of Durango’s former finance director, Julie Brown, was sentenced Friday to 5 decades guiding bars for embezzling far more than $712,000 from city coffers over 11 a long time.

In November, Brown, 51, pleaded guilty to two felony fees: embezzlement of public assets and theft of $100,000 or additional but much less than $1 million. Brown worked in city finance for a lot more than 17 several years ahead of resigning in Oct 2019 amid allegations of fraud.

Brown’s jail time is on maintain until Might when the court will rethink her sentencing. If she will make fantastic-religion restitution payments all through the interim, the five-12 months sentencing could be reduced to probation, reported 6th Judicial District Decide William Herringer.

“I’m not going to assure you what I’m going to do, but I think that would exhibit a pretty superior-religion work to make the city complete,” Herringer instructed Brown throughout her sentencing hearing.

Herringer had large discretion in deciding Brown’s punishment, like probation or up to 12 several years in prison.

She was sentenced to 5 yrs in prison on the theft cost, a Course 3 felony, and 3 yrs for the embezzlement demand, a Course 5 felony, which will run concurrently to the Course 3 cost.

In addition, the court sentenced her to expend 3 a long time on necessary parole and to pay back total restitution to the metropolis in the sum of about $712,298. The town has 91 times to file any supplemental requests for restitution.

If Brown pays the metropolis of Durango about $250,000 in the interim, the volume she reported she could pay by subsequent 7 days, then the protection could talk to the courtroom to reconsider her jail sentence.

“The sentence was a excellent stability of producing the town (monetarily) entire and punishing Ms. Brown for her carry out,” reported prosecuting attorney David Ottman.

Richard Jaye, Brown’s protection legal professional, declined to remark about the sentencing.

Durango Town Council, some city team members and members of the public were being present at the listening to, via online video or cellular phone conferencing.

“It was individually incredibly hard to make a desire of these types of value to a person’s existence, primarily anyone who I’ve labored with in excess of a period of decades,” stated Mayor Dean Brookie. “In the stop, I assume the decide heard our ask for on behalf of the persons and arrived at a really affordable sentence which focuses on economic reimbursement.”

Said City Councilor Kim Baxter: “I’m encouraged mainly because I truly believe that that finding restitution is extremely important and should be a priority. Which is what we’re seeking for, but the judge remaining the door open up for her to have some jail time to make her accountable for her actions.”

In a letter to the courtroom, Durango City Council emphasised the harms triggered by Brown’s steps: the stolen funds, erosion of public and staff have faith in, lost money prospects and additional charges to analyze and shore up metropolis funds.

“We are not inquiring for any leniency but rather that complete restitution be supplied to the metropolis of Durango and that she serves time for her felonious crimes,” the letter reported.

Amber Blake, who served as interim city supervisor in Oct 2019 when the allegations of fraud arrived to gentle, supported the council’s statement in the course of the assembly.

“Do every little thing that you can do to make the town full and enable the neighborhood to truly feel that justice has been served in this scenario,” Blake mentioned, speaking for town residents and team members.

Brown’s daughters spoke in her mother’s defense all through the hearing.

“She has our utmost assistance and like,” said a person daughter, who could not be recognized by the hearing’s digital format. “She’s the hardest-functioning human being I have at any time achieved, and I know she will do regardless of what she desires to to make this right.”

Brown mentioned she took obligation for her actions and apologized to her former colleagues, the people of Durango, and her relatives and good friends.

“While I desire I could go again and make unique selections, I can only just take accountability and move ahead,” Brown said. “I will use this as a catalyst to give again for the relaxation of my lifestyle. The guilt, regret and shame that I have been living with for several years has been more difficult than any sentence could be.”

In accordance to an arrest affidavit, Brown permitted checks from the metropolis of Durango to Animas Specialists in her purpose as finance director. From there, she deposited the checks into her personalized bank account.

Court docket documents exhibit Animas Pros dissolved in 2010, and was owned by Bill Brown, Julie Brown’s father-in-legislation.

Considering that October 2019, the city has revamped its inside processes to double-check fiscal records, released an external audit precisely designed to capture fraud and up to date its procedures to match most effective tactics.

Town Manager José Madrigal introduced this week that the town will launch a new on the web system for the general public to overview town funds in 2021.

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