In a news release Bulloch County Sheriff Lynn Andersons said his was contacted June 24 by clerk Heather Banks McNeal who said citation money handled by 45 year old Karen Patterson hand not been deposited and computerized records had been altered to conceal the thefts. An internal audit conducted by McNeal showed approximately 19 instances of theft over a three month period involving over $3,000. The following day Patterson was fired.
Investigator Jason Long served arrest warrants against Patterson July 8 charging her with felony theft by taking, computer forgery and violation of oath of public office. Shewas released from the Bulloch County Jail after posting a $10,000 bond.
Sheriff Anderson said in the release that Mrs McNeal believes that “the checks and safeguards that are currently in place in the Clerks Office are proving to be effective so that any deviations from office procedures are detected.” Anderson said the entire Clerks Office was completely cooperative with BCSO investigators.