Meggs: Probation officer may have stolen $300K

Willie Meggs

Willie Meggs

Published: Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 10:01 AM.

A hearing last week in the case of a former Franklin County probation officer who stands accused of pocketing payments from probationers by recording them as community service hours showed the case is more complicated, and more extensive, than first thought.

Jennifer Martina Brown, who worked as county probation officer from March 2009 until she was fired in August 2013, sat quietly as her lawyer, Jay Gordon Shuler, and prosecuting attorney Willie Meggs hashed out details Aug. 21 before Circuit Judge William Gary, who is presiding over the case.

“We’re ready to resolve this case, but we understand Willie Meggs needs to finish the work he’s doing,” said Shuler.

Meggs said investigators believe the possible scale of Brown’s alleged wrongdoing has grown considerably since she was charged last year with grand theft, tampering with physical evidence, official misconduct, and racketeering.

“We need to know how much was taken and what damage was done,” he said. “We feel like we have to continue on with this case. We need to tell the public the depth of the harm done in this case.”

Meggs said his office’s auditors, with help from Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater’s department, have so far collected enough evidence from bank and court records that they say could prove at least $190,000 was taken.

He said investigators must comb through 12 separate bank accounts, and talk with hundreds more people, as they “follow the money.” Meggs estimated the final amount diverted from Brown’s employer, Florida Probation Services, LLC, and the county and state, could be “close to $300,000.”

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