An ‘unusual’ number of embezzlements of public money recently, DA says
A Crowley Lake woman and a Bridgeport woman recently faced the courts after accusations that they embezzled money.
Debra Ray, 53, of Crowley Lake, was arrested on Friday, April 19, on suspicion of embezzling $29,000 from a Crowley Lake water district.
Ray pleaded not guilty Monday and was released after her arraignment where her $50,000 bail was reduced to $10,000, according to the Mono County District Attorney’s office.
This same week, another woman, from Bridgeport, Roxanne Foley, 52, was arraigned in federal court for embezzling about $320,000 between October 2011 and March 2012 from the Eastern Sierra Community Bank, where she was employed as a manager, according to a Department of Justice press release dated April 24.
Mono County District Attorney Tim Kendall commented on the seemingly large number of recent embezzlements of public money—Ray, the Rossy’s from Inyo County who were recently arrested on suspicion of embezzling about $150 million from the county’s health and human services, and last year, a Bridgeport woman, Cheryl Goode, who was arrested for embezzling $5,000 from the local water district she served on.
“The number of embezzlements is not unusual,” he said. “However, the number of embezzlements in the last two years from public entities is, at least locally.”
Private money embezzlement is another matter, he said.
“Speaking for Mono County, businesses incur embezzlements all the time and we routinely prosecute those cases every year,” Kendall said.
“I am confident that this is not unique to Mono or Inyo counties. They occur statewide and in every state. These embezzlements range from small amounts to hundreds of thousands.”
Both Ray and Foley are presumed innocent until found guilty, both the Justice Department email and Kendall noted.
Here are the details of both cases, beginning with Ray, according to two separate press releases:
“Debra Ray was arraigned in the Mono County Superior Court on Monday, April 22, a 22-count complaint alleging the theft of public monies,” said Kendall.
Ray was under investigation for some time, according to the district attorney’s office.
“In late 2011, the current board members for the Crowley Lake Mutual Water Company reported a suspected embezzlement of public funds by Ray, who served as a water company board member from approximately 1998 to the middle of 2011,” the district attorney’s office news release stated.
“Ray was serving as president and treasurer during the 2010-11 year before being voted off the board in the 2011 general membership election.
“During her tenure with the water board she also served for many years as the treasurer before taking over as both president and treasurer.
“Ray has been charged in a 22-count complaint alleging that she embezzled approximately $29,000 in public monies from the water company starting in 2008 and ending in 2011 when she left the board.
“During this period, Ray was drafting checks made payable to herself and her husband for work not performed and reimbursing herself for expenses that the water company had already paid to her.”
Foley, the former Bridgeport bank manager, faced a federal grand jury on April 18, according to an April 24 Justice Department press release.
“On April 18, 2013, a federal grand jury returned an indictment, charging Roxanne Foley, 52, Bridgeport, with theft and embezzlement by a bank employee,” the justice department news release stated.
“According to the indictment and statements made in court, between October 2011 and March 20, 2012, Foley embezzled approximately $320,000 from the Eastern Sierra Community Bank where she was employed as a manager.
“Foley was released April 24 on a $50,000 bond. She is scheduled to appear before United States District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller on May 29 for a status conference,” the news release stated.
“If convicted, Foley faces a maximum statutory penalty of 30 years in prison, a $1 million fine, and a five-year term of supervised release. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
“This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Mono County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant United States Attorney Kyle Reardon is prosecuting the case.”