Julie Brown given jail time, 20 years’ probation
Durango’s former finance director was re-sentenced Friday to 90 days in jail and 20 years’ probation for embezzling greater than $712,000 from city coffers over the course of 11 years.
“You’re going to be underneath the thumb of the felony justice system for a really very long time,” stated sixth Judicial District Decide William Herringer in handing down the 20-year probationary sentence.
Julie Brown, 52, pleaded responsible in November to 2 felonies: embezzlement of public property and theft of $100,000 to $1 million. Brown labored in metropolis finance for greater than 17 years earlier than resigning in October 2019 amid allegations of fraud.
Brown was sentenced in January to 5 years in jail, three years on parole and ordered to pay $712,298 in restitution to the town. However Herringer agreed to droop that sentence and rethink it if Brown confirmed a good-faith effort at repaying the restitution.
Since then, Brown has paid about $439,511 in restitution, draining her 401K and different liquid belongings.
Herringer stated sentencing Brown to jail time could be purely punitive and never rehabilitative. Moreover, prisoners usually serve solely a couple of third of their sentences because of early launch for good habits, and it could value taxpayers about $45,000 per 12 months to accommodate her with the Division of Corrections, he stated.
“I don’t know that I’ve had a property crime, within the eight years I’ve been doing this, that has occupied as a lot of my considering as this case has,” Herringer stated earlier than sentencing. “It’s a case the place I feel there’s simply actually tough concerns to steadiness.”
Brown made good-faith efforts to repay the stolen cash, Herringer stated, and he or she has obtained employment in Garfield County enabling her to maintain making funds.
However he stated Brown’s embezzlement concerned planning, repeated actions over a number of years and a big sum of cash.
“I don’t imagine you’re a threat of committing future offenses,” Herringer stated. “I may actually be fallacious about that. If I’m, I’ve the discretion to condemn you to a really very long time in jail on this case.”
Herringer additionally gave Brown the choice to use for work launch in Garfield or La Plata counties, which might enable her to work throughout the day however she must report back to jail at evening. But when she goes that route, she must report back to jail for a 12 months.
Brown should report back to jail or the work-release program on July 9.
Brown is predicted to pay $1,200 per thirty days to the town for about 18 years to finish her restitution. A collections investigator will guarantee she pays the utmost quantity potential even when her earnings modifications.
Throughout Friday’s listening to, Brown’s protection lawyer, Richard Jaye, stated his shopper did every part the court docket requested her to do.
Her sister, Laurie Grey, additionally spoke, saying Brown has taken duty for her actions.
“She’s finished every part she will in her energy to pay again the cash,” Grey stated. “Every part they owned, they’ve mainly offered. She misplaced her profession, her licenses, her marriage. … She’s making an attempt to show that round.”
Prosecuting lawyer David Ottman argued the stolen cash value the town alternatives to offer for the residents of Durango.
Durango Mayor Professional Tem Barbara Noseworthy learn an announcement authorized by Metropolis Council.
“The one approach we imagine we are able to start the method of therapeutic and restoring belief in our municipal authorities is to see this sentencing by with full penalties for the actions and crimes Ms. Brown dedicated,” the letter says.
Metropolis Council emphasised the harms attributable to Brown’s actions, together with erosion of public and workers belief, misplaced monetary alternatives and extra bills to look at and shore up metropolis funds.
In accordance with an arrest affidavit, Brown authorized checks from the town of Durango to Animas Professionals in her function as finance director. From there, she deposited the checks into her private checking account.
Court docket information present Animas Professionals dissolved in 2010, and was owned by Invoice Brown, Julie Brown’s father-in-law.
Since October 2019, the town has revamped its inner processes to double-check monetary information, launched an exterior audit particularly designed to catch fraud and up to date its insurance policies to match greatest practices.