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Leon County traffic ticket fees embezzled by clerk

Leon County traffic ticket fees embezzled by clerk

May 18, 2012

  Tallahassee Crime Examiner

Booked on 41 counts of embezzlement of traffic ticket cash payments

Booked on 41 counts of embezzlement of traffic ticket cash payments   Photo credit:  LCSO Mug Photo     
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On 16 May 2012, Daphne Pinedo-Ramos, a Leon County cashier employed at the Clerk of Courts Office, Traffic Division, was arrested for swindling by obtaining property under $20,000, grand theft of $5,000 or more, but less than $10,000 and 41 counts of a public servant falsifying official documents. According to the Clerk of Courts, Mr. Inzer, Ms. Pinedo-Ramos was employed in the position for the past six years. She is being accused of accepting cash payments for traffic tickets that is part of her job description, but then pocketing the cash and giving out  false receipts. She covers up her scheme by deleting any record of the ticket from the system. To date, records indicate that this was accomplished in 41 cash payments amounting to $8,512.00 or over $200 per ticket.

The rip-off scheme was uncovered by a fellow co-worker and then trapped by investigators who asked a citizen, who paid a ticket in cash, to return with the receipt. The receipt was one that Ms. Pinedo-Ramos manufactured on her own as part of the swindle. When the investigators checked the electronic records, they discovered that the ticket was dismissed by Ms. Pinedo-Ramos. After questioning about the ticket, Ms. Pinedo-Ramos confessed to all 40 other dismissed tickets and to the taking of the money. Mr. Inzer stated he was aware that Ms. Pinedo-Ramos had fallen on hard times, but would not elaborate.

During the past year, Leon County and the city of Tallahassee have been embezzled by a few people from the over $650,000 by Shanna Lewis, an office manager of the city’s Innovation Park to several school officials, such as Jackie Hutto, accused of taking over $50,000 from the Leon County school system. A few months ago, two Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University Credit Union employees were caught embezzling $134,000. All these criminal acts were reported in the news and made front page headlines in the Tallahassee Democrat.

In every case, all those involved lost their jobs, are facing jail time or in jail, and will have a very bad record for future employment. Not to mention the embarrassment to employer and the families involved.  In the case of Ms. Pinedo-Ramos, those hard working city and county law enforcement officers and deputies that wrote the tickets are now delighted to know that they will no longer be contributing to her illegal retirement fund.

If there are statistics of how many individuals caught in the act of embezzling versus all those that have not yet been detected, every employer/supervisor of positions of trust must take heed to establish fool-proof systems to prevent future surprises of missing funds. Opportunity and need are the two elements in this type of crime. Eliminating all the opportunities is only one part, since almost everyone has a need for more material goods. Eliminating the need means hiring honest and trustworthy people based on past history. In the case of Ms. Pinedo-Ramos experiencing “hard-times”, should have triggered a closer inspection of her processing of cash payments by her supervisor.

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2 Comments on “Leon County traffic ticket fees embezzled by clerk”

  1. DAVID R GRAY Says:

    MY NAME IS DAVID R GRAY., I TOO WAS TAKEN BY A CAPTAIN OF THE COLUMBIA COUNTY SHERIFF DEPARTMENT OF OVER $77,000 SEVENTY SEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS., OFF MY BACK POCKET ON JULY 14, 2011, THEY ONLY GAVE TO MY WIFE BACK $15,900, WITH IT ON RECORD AND ON REPORT. WHERE’S THE REST OF THE MONEY?

    Reply

    • DAVID R GRAY Says:

      SINCE THEN, I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO GET HELP ANY WAY I CAN. I AM A DISABLED VETERAN OF OVER 18 YEARS IN ARMY. I HAVE TO RECOVER THE MONEY WE HAVE BEEN SAVING AT HOME. NOBODY HAS THE RIGHT TO DO THIS TO NO-ONE EXPECIALLY THE COPS, THAT WE TRUST…

      Reply

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