State: Probation officer may have stolen $100K

Jennifer Brown

Jennifer Brown

Published: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 10:52 AM.

A former Franklin County probation officer stands accused of stealing as much as $100,000 by taking cash from probationers and then concealing it by recording their payments as community service hours.

Jennifer Martina Brown, who worked as county probation officer from March 2009 until she was fired six weeks ago, faces felony charges of grand theft, tampering with physical evidence and official misconduct.

After a warrant for her arrest was issued last week out of the Apalachicola office of Assistant State Attorney Robin Myers, Brown turned herself in to the Gulf County Detention Facility in Port St. Joe on Sept. 18. She was released within a few hours after posting a $100,000 bond.

Rumors of Brown’s impending arrest had circulated throughout the county ever since she was fired Aug. 15 from Florida Probation Services, LLC, a private company contracted by the county to handle probation matters for those people convicted of misdemeanors.

Brown, 31, began her employment in March 2009 with Florida Probation Services’ predecessor, Judicial Correction Services. She was retained by Florida Probation Services in March 2012 when that firm was granted the contract with the county.

“I think this is a tragedy and I think it’s just a case of a theft by a person with no regard for others,” said Richard Stewart, a former Bay County commissioner who, together with Harold Bazzel, founded Florida Probation Services.

“To think she would take money from economically deprived people is just unbelievable to me,” said Stewart. “This is a slap in my face and a slap in the whole community’s face. I’m cooperating 110 percent to get this resolved.”

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