Case of stolen funds from inmates plods on
BRECKENRIDGE – The case against a former sheriff’s office employee accused of stealing money from jail inmates remains stalled in court, nearly four years after a discrepancy was discovered.
Attorneys were scheduled to meet Monday to discuss the charges against Mary Jean Bottorf, but the appearance was rescheduled for Sept. 8.
Bottorf, 54, faces felony charges of theft and embezzlement of public property – crimes carrying a total possible sentence of 15 years.
In December 1999, Bottorf worked as an administrative assistant at the Summit County Jail where her duties included managing deposits to and payments from inmate bank accounts. The accounts are used to hold money confiscated from prisoners at the time they are booked into jail or money they earn through work release; inmates can also spend the money at the jail commissary on snacks or supplies such as paper, envelopes and stamps.
At that time, bank officials notified the jail commander an account was overdrawn by $3,500. The jail commander reportedly confronted Bottorf about the shortage, and Bottorf resigned two days later. Bottorf was arrested and freed after posting a $1,000 bond.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation conducted an examination of the financial records. The examination showed that between June 1998 and December 1999 more than $34,000 of inmate money disappeared.
Assistant District Attorney Rachel Fresquez said the case is taking longer than usual, but it is a complicated case.
A preliminary hearing in the case had to be repeated because of problems with recording equipment. The case was also delayed because the prosecuting attorney who originally filed the case, Ed Casias, is now the county court judge who would hear some of the legal arguments and motions in the case.
The court had to arrange for a different judge to sit on the matter. Fresquez said that Bottorf no longer qualifies for a public defender and will have to retain her own attorney, a change that has also delayed proceedings.
“It’s definitely not how we’d like cases to flow,” Fresquez said. “If it’s done before the end of the year, it would be amazing.”
– Reid Williams
Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, or email@example.com.
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