February 21, 2003
CUTHBERT - Long-time Randolph County clerk Debbie Bonner is now suspended from her job and will likely be fired. Randolph County's Commission Chairman didn't get prior notice of missing money, mail fraud, or a federal investigation.
"I just found out about it this morning," Edward Johnson said.
Debbie Bonner wrote 112 checks in 2000 totalling $51, 621 dollars. She spent the money on credit card debt and phone service, among other things. Most of the money was spent on equipment for her husband's lawn care business. Before his suicide two weeks ago, Robert Bonner was the State Patrol Post commander in Perry.
The reason for the charge of mail fraud is Bonner abused the U.S. Postal Service by putting the checks in the mail.
"I heard all the rumors, but I thought this can't be happening to my little county, evidently it was," Esther Miller, a Cuthbert taxpayer said.
One commissioner who believed the rumors wishes something could have been done before the FBI got involved. "We weren't willing to act quickly enough to prevent man from taking his own life," Charles Evans Simmons said.
Debbie Bonner who has cancer, now faces up to 5 years in prison and a 250 thousand dollar fine. She will have to pay back the $51,621. Her termination hearing is scheduled in the next few days.
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