Thefts lead to 1 arrest, 2 firings

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In the wake of an audit and investigation of the Richmond County Civil and Magistrate Court Clerk's office, the top clerk has been fired.

Mandy Rhodes: Worker in Magistrate Court Clerk's office is accused of pocketing  fines, fees and court costs.  Special
Special
Mandy Rhodes: Worker in Magistrate Court Clerk's office is accused of pocketing fines, fees and court costs.

Chief Judge William D. Jennings III said Wednesday that Mandy Rhodes, 29, was fired upon her arrest for stealing from the office, and the clerk of civil and magistrate courts, Gaynell Bonner, was also fired.

Although he hated to fire Ms. Bonner after 30 years of service, Judge Jennings said that according to the auditors, it was a supervision failure that paved the way for the repeated thefts of cash.

Ms. Bonner was given 60 days of administrative leave with pay before her termination.

Another court employee, a warrant officer, has been placed on administrative leave with pay. The judge is considering whether further action is needed.

The officer was placed on leave, Judge Jennings said, because he thought she failed to cooperate fully and immediately with the investigation. It is unacceptable conduct for someone who sits in judgment and decides if arrest warrants should be issued, Judge Jennings said.

Ms. Rhodes, 29, is charged with violating the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. She is free on a $25,000 bond.

She is accused of pocketing cash paid in fines, fees and court costs between June 1, 2004, and Aug. 7. Investigators think the thefts total at least $21,113.

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CSRAider
0
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CSRAider 01/11/07 - 07:22 am
0
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I bet if you look deeper some

I bet if you look deeper some higher ups are involved. I wonder if she was asked to help someone out. She did and now she is taking the fall. Im not saying she is not guilty she is but I garantee their are more heads involved than you are hearing about.

1313
64
Points
1313 01/11/07 - 08:00 am
0
0
Well at least she didn't do

Well at least she didn't do like Linda Schrenko and use the money for plastic surgery.

Marco
0
Points
Marco 01/11/07 - 08:29 am
0
0
Who said civil servants are

Who said civil servants are underpaid?
Mark Mitchell

CKB
0
Points
CKB 01/11/07 - 08:34 am
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The article was not clear

The article was not clear enough to spell things out regarding this "theft". I wonder if there was evidence that indicated Ms. Bonner knew about the stealing violations by another employee, as they were taking place, or if she was terminated simply because an employee under her direction has been able to steel so much. If it is the latter, I wonder if there was any consideration given to other measures for Ms. Bonner than termination..... seems harsh and cold for someone who may be close to retirement. If she knew about this all along, that is different and she probably received just punishment. Just did not get the idea that she knew this from the article. I do not know this lady, but until she is proven guilty, I feel for her. It is too bad that some of the judges are not this hard on our more seasoned criminals that commit far worse crimes. And this means "justice for all"? I think not.

TAG1313
0
Points
TAG1313 01/11/07 - 08:46 am
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The same thing happened about

The same thing happened about 30 years ago with several going to prison then. Why didn't the county learn how to put checks in place to stop such?

bluelight
28
Points
bluelight 01/11/07 - 09:35 am
0
0
I think that the termination

I think that the termination of Ms Bonner is too harsh punishment. With 30 ears of otherwise unblemshed service to the courts and the county, where will she be able to find another job with similar pay and benefits at her age? A suspension, a demotion, but not termination. Admittedly, she is responsible for the daily operation of the clerk's office, but it is virtually impossible for her to audit every transaction on a daily basis. Auditing daily transactions would be a full time job in and of itself. Perhaps if the auditors had been doing their job correctly, then this situation would have been discovered sooner.

september 5th
1
Points
september 5th 01/11/07 - 09:46 am
0
0
ms bonner should be arrested

ms bonner should be arrested also..i wonder if she was doing as so many other managers do: allow their "special" employees to get over-time knowing that some of the profit is going to them..ms bonner should not be allowed to have 60 days of paid suspension she should go to jail and be forced to make restitution... how many years she has been stealing and is just now getting caught!

Augusta Mom
1
Points
Augusta Mom 01/11/07 - 10:13 am
0
0
jbeees, I agree with you!

jbeees, I agree with you! This is just typical of what I've seen in some of the county offices. There are too many relatives and friends being hired...which has always been theproblem.
Even though I've always tried to be very polite (you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar) I've been at times treated terribly by the personnel in some of those offices. And just try to point out to them that they have perhaps made an error!
I think we'll find out there has been quite a cover-up with this whole matter. No one can steal that much money without someone else knowing........

NicoleKelly
7
Points
NicoleKelly 01/11/07 - 10:30 am
0
0
Mrs. Bonner doesn't deserve

Mrs. Bonner doesn't deserve this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

commentator
1
Points
commentator 01/11/07 - 10:37 am
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Guilt by association. Sad

Guilt by association. Sad isnt it ?

Augusta Mom
1
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Augusta Mom 01/11/07 - 10:51 am
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If she doesn't have "time" to

If she doesn't have "time" to go thru her own records, she should have had the foresight to set up a better system.
They had this same thing @ 10 years ago in the Tag Office with a temp employee stamping a large number of tag tickets as "Exempt". Wouldn't someone question why the county had suddenly gotten so many Exempt tags?

DWGRIFFINSR
0
Points
DWGRIFFINSR 01/11/07 - 10:58 am
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0
I can well understand why the

I can well understand why the JUDGE was angry and upset, the woman RHODES was taking his and other officials retirement fund.

Augusta Mom
1
Points
Augusta Mom 01/11/07 - 11:06 am
0
0
I wonder how many people had

I wonder how many people had to double-pay fines in that court because they were not credited the correct amounts? Or perhaps
she/they were marking files as "settled" and pocketing the balances..... It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

vls214
29
Points
vls214 01/11/07 - 11:18 am
0
0
I actually know both Ms.

I actually know both Ms. Rhodes and Ms. Bonner from filing various items in their office. To say that I am shocked is an understatement. I wish them both the best of luck and I hope this experience has taught them both lessons that they will never forget. God bless you both!

APINGA
0
Points
APINGA 01/11/07 - 01:10 pm
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0
Judge Jennings is a D**K!!!

Judge Jennings is a D**K!!! He is now and has always been. TO fire Gayell Bonner was uncalled for. This women has 30 years of service to the County. The proper punisment would be a suspension. I knew he when I was a Deputy with the County and she was on her game. One mistake should'nt wipe away 30 years of dedication. Shame on you Judge Jennings.

whyme
1798
Points
whyme 01/11/07 - 01:56 pm
0
0
Here's a question sort of

Here's a question sort of related: how is it that this gal goes to jail asap yet folks like Linda Schrenko, Charles Walker, etc. have several months to report to a swanky prison? Why do they get the privilege of tidying up their affairs, maybe stashing away more bucks, etc?

MCK
0
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MCK 01/11/07 - 01:59 pm
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0
Suspend her, make her retire

Suspend her, make her retire early, do whatever... but don't just fire her. Ms. Bonner is a good person, she does not deserve this. Doesn't 30 years mean anything??? How long had Ms Rhodes worked there? 3 years? It might have been bad supervision, but Ms. Bonner shouldn't have to pay for someone else's stupidity, ignorance & bad character. Good luck Ms. Bonner, you are a good lady. God Bless you.

klee0915
38
Points
klee0915 01/11/07 - 07:34 pm
0
0
She should have been fired,

She should have been fired, arrested, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Anyone else in similar situation would be. Regardless of her years of service, she knew better and opted to steal. It was a choice and she should face the stiffest of penalties. I will personally follow this case to see if she receives the same type of "justice" others have in similar situations in Richmond County. I had a family member to be convicted as a FELON and denied first offendor status for allowing a person to leave a store where she was employed with a $600 power drill. She was an honor student and recent grad and had NEVER been in trouble in her life, not even a suspension from schoool or detention. She was an 18 yr old who made a bad choice and received 8 yrs probation. Ms. Bonner has been charged under a racketerring statute. This will be interesting.....I will be watching.

edwardc
1
Points
edwardc 01/11/07 - 08:41 pm
0
0
Why not hire honest people?

Why not hire honest people? It's not that hard to do.

Lordhelpus
0
Points
Lordhelpus 01/11/07 - 09:49 pm
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0
It is so very sad that we

It is so very sad that we have such ignorant and sadly misguided individuals who have access to a computer. None of you naysayers know anything about what has happened yet you judge someone based on an ignorant, arrogant, malicious, vicious man who holds an office which has the power to ruin a person's life just like that. Remember Shana Lively, he screwed that up too, he didn't care. None of you better go before him , he is not a person who cares. How is it that Ms. Rhodes was voiding transactions when there was a bookkeeper on staff. Everywhere that I have ever worked said that a void was a red flag, is the bookkeeper blind or was she benefiting along with some of the other employees who were best buds of Ms Rhodes. And who is the investigator. He/She seems a little lacking in skills. Didn't check out who might be missing the extra cash Ms. Rhodes was supplying. Did they fall on bad times when the money wagon went home? And, what type of relationship did Rhodes have with that sad miserable judge. His face scares me I see evil. Before we judge anybody we ought to look into what's going on. Ms. Bonner shouldn't be held responsible for the judges' lack of judgment. Why is she

Give credit where due
2
Points
Give credit where due 01/11/07 - 10:45 pm
0
0
Let the chips fall where they

Let the chips fall where they may .. but Judge Jennings has always been fair as far I can see .. I have went to him in time of need with legal issues and he has lead me in the right direction . Thank you Judge Jennings !

getreal2
0
Points
getreal2 01/12/07 - 12:19 am
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To klee0915: Read the

To klee0915: Read the article! No where in there does it say that Ms. Bonner stole anything. She was fired for bad supervision!!!! NOT STEALING and she was not charged with anything!

driven
0
Points
driven 01/12/07 - 06:21 pm
0
0
I know both Mandy and

I know both Mandy and Gaynell. I don't know whether Mandy is guilty of the charges, but I do know that a bookeeper sat about 6 feet away from her everyday and Gaynell's office was even closer. That office was plagued with problems which mainly involved staff who were are less than professional, not all but some. Gaynell lacked the ability to properly supervise her staff and Judge Jennings knew this for a significant period of time, however never did anything about it. Despite my belief that Gaynell was a major problem in that office, I also believe that her punishment was harsh. Heck, he let her run the office into the ground for years, why fire her now. She should have been allowed to retire or suspended, not fired. Mandy is one of the kindest people I know and I hate this has happened to her, but we all have to face the consequences of our actions. I pray for her and Gaynell and hope we all learn lessons from their mistakes. To Judge Jennings: HIRE qualified staff.

klee0915
38
Points
klee0915 01/14/07 - 06:33 pm
0
0
Dear GETREAL. Thank you, I

Dear GETREAL. Thank you, I stand corrected.

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