Former Manatee elections official convicted of embezzlement faces new criminal charge

jdeleon@bradenton.comMay 23, 2014 

MANATEE -- A former Manatee assistant supervisor of elections convicted of embezzling more than $300,000 from the county now faces additional charges after she stopped making restitution payments.

Dawn Marshall, also known as Dawn Marshall-Smith, was convicted in November 2000 of grand theft and scheming to defraud after she embezzled more than $300,000 from the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office by funneling the money through a bogus account.

She was sentenced to 26 1/2 months in the Florida Department of Corrections, followed by two years house arrest and 25 years probation. After her release from prison, she was ordered to repay $325,000 in monthly installments to Manatee County.

Marshall was arrested Jan. 14 and charged with violation of probation for failing to consistently make restitution payments.

At the time of her arrest, Marshall was about $48,000 in arrears, according to her probation officer.

"She's been very inconsistent over the years with her payments," county attorney Mitchell Palmer said. "We are disheartened at the fact

she has been."

Since her 2014 arrest, Marshall made one more payment to the county, bringing the total she still owes to more than $218,000.

In 2013, Marshall only made one payment; in 2012, she made three payments; and in 2011, she made four payments.

"It remains our desire to recover the full restitution and we are certainly looking to the court to help us in those regards," Palmer said.

A hearing scheduled for Monday was continued until 2 p.m. Aug. 25.

"I suspect the court's concerns are for her restitution," assistant public defender James Siegfreid said.

He entered a plea Feb. 4 contesting the probation violation on Marshall's behalf. A demand for hearing and discovery was also made.

Marshall's probation officer was notified of her inconsistent payments by Manatee County risk manager claims adjuster Holly Bertone, who handles all restitution payments made to the county.

Marshall's case, however, is unusual, Palmer said. The county usually does not deal with felons ordered to repay such large amounts or cases in which the state is involved.

Bertone has appeared in court on behalf of the county's interests.

"We are there because we are the victim," Palmer said. "If the court desires to hear from us, then I would expect Holly would speak up."

Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.

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