Former Doerun city clerk is accused of stealing city money -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Former Doerun city clerk is accused of stealing city money

By Jim Wallace - bio | email

January  16, 2009

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Investigators say she used city accounts to buy herself Victoria Secrets clothes and high-end items and wrote herself checks for cash.

GBI Agents arrested 52 year Debra Patrice Bryant Thursday night, charging her with two felony counts of theft by taking. Investigators are still counting, but say so far they have accounted for more than $35,000 of city money she spent in shopping sprees over the last several years.

"To Chadwick, Victoria Secrets, the GAP, Belks. All kinds of various kinds of stores, a couple of home decor mail order businesses," Doerun City Attorney Tommy Coleman said.

Last fall an audit of Doerun City books found the missing money and store charges to city accounts. Bryant was forced to resign in November, after six years as City Clerk.

 "There were several things that were of great question to him. Some checks that were written to the Clerk by herself for example. And some other ATM withdrawals that could not be explained," Coleman said.

As the audit continued and the scope of the thefts became clear, the GBI was called in. Officials were stunned that the well respected Bryant was so bold taking city funds to buy clothes, furniture, and other luxury items.

 "It was just very blatant. Like I can write this check because I work here," Coleman said.

Coleman said the city is still working to find out just how much money was taken. Another disturbing discovery is that Bryant may have loaned city money to other Doerun employees to help them through hard times.

"Of course it is not legal. No city is a bank," Coleman said.

But Coleman says he does not believe any other Doerun city employees will face charges for the small loans, as they continue to count up just how much city money was used in what they term an unbelievable shopping spree.

Bryant was released on ten thousand dollars bond from the Colquitt County Jail.

Coleman says Doerun city officials hope they can get back some of the money now that Bryant has been charged.


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