Former Breckenridge Film Festival director gets 5-year sentence in theft case
August 11, 2014
Dawna Foxx, the former executive director of the Breckenridge Festival of Film, was sentenced Monday, Aug. 11, to five years in prison.
Dawna Foxx, 67, pleaded guilty in June in Summit County District Court to one count each of theft of $1,000 to $20,000 and second-degree forgery. The pleas were entered following a lengthy investigation that yielded evidence Dawna Foxx embezzled upwards of $210,000 from what is now known as the Breckenridge Film Festival during the years she served as executive director. The investigation also yielded evidence that Dawna Foxx stole several thousand dollars from her husband, Ron Foxx, and his business partner.
Chief judge Mark Thompson handed down the punishment Monday after about an hour-long sentencing hearing in district court. Thompson told Dawna Foxx he was disappointed she violated the community's trust.
"The theft took place over a period of years and resulted in the loss of a substantial amount of money," Thompson said. "It was systemic, calculated, unprovoked and unjustified, but more importantly it was perpetrated by a person who was placed in a position of trust by a charity that is important to the community and a charity that depends on the trust of the community."
“I don’t think she has any remorse. What she said in court was another one of her lies. She’s been doing it for 37 years and this time it didn’t work. Maybe the games are over now.”
In addition to the five-year prison sentence for the theft charge, Thompson also sentenced Foxx to serve nine months in the county jail on the misdemeanor forgery charge. That sentence was ordered to run concurrent with the DOC sentence. She also faces three years of mandatory parole.
Thompson did not impose any monetary fines in his ruling, saying Dawna Foxx's priority should be paying restitution to the victims. As part of her plea deal, Dawna Foxx agreed to pay $110,000 in restitution — $90,000 to the Breckenridge Film Festival and $10,000 each to her husband and his business partner.
The sentence was ordered despite efforts by Dawna Foxx's attorney, J.B. Katz, of Breckenridge, to argue for probation. Katz cited that Dawna Foxx was a first-time offender.
More importantly, however, Katz said Dawna Foxx would not be able to meet her restitution obligations if sentenced to prison. Dawna Foxx collects Social Security and works part time at a restaurant in Kansas, where she now resides with a sister, Katz said.
Dawna Foxx also spoke on her own behalf prior to sentencing, in which she admitted that until recently she was in denial and truly believed she was innocent of any wrongdoing. She told the court she was prepared to accept responsibility for her actions.
"I want to stand here today and tell you I accept full responsibility, and I am very sorry I stole money from the Breckenridge Festival of Film," Dawna Foxx said. "I am sorry the organization of the Breckenridge Festival of Film has suffered. I do not want it to suffer because of this."
Deputy district attorney John Franks contested Dawna Foxx's newfound sense of responsibility, saying even after her arrest she exhibited no signs of remorse. Franks asked the court to hand down the stipulated maximum sentence, which is six years for a Class 4 felony theft conviction.
"A six-year … sentence would at least send the message that enough is enough and we are not going to tolerate theft that affects the community," Franks said. "The people who were victimized feel more guilt that they trusted Miss Foxx and yet, the defendant does not.
"She used the money to fuel a gambling problem, to purchase clothing and other luxury items, and to even pay off an outstanding gas bill. Still, she has not provided one cent of restitution to the victims in this case and has not provided any documentation whatsoever about where the money went."
After the hearing, Ron Foxx, who also addressed the court prior to sentencing, said he was satisfied with the judgment against his ex-wife.
"They punished the right person," he said. "As far as the wrongdoings, the person who got punished is not the person I lived with.
"I don't think she has any remorse. What she said in court was another one of her lies. She's been doing it for 37 years and this time it didn't work. Maybe the games are over now."
Dawna Foxx was granted a one-week stay of imprisonment by judge Thompson to return to Kansas to "get her affairs in order." She was ordered to turn herself into the Summit County Sheriff's Office by noon Monday, Aug. 18, to begin serving her sentence.
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