News


FDLE Agents Charge Former Deputy Clerk of Court with Grand Theft, Other Charges

3/18/2008
 
Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) special agents have charged a former Palm Beach County deputy clerk of the court with allegedly diverting more than $12,000 from traffic ticket payments for personal use.

Lucille Gomez Dunaway, 38, of South Bay, was charged with one count of official misconduct; one count of grand theft and one count of organized scheme to defraud. Dunaway, who was terminated for gross misconduct on Sept. 21, 2007, from employment at the Belle Glade office of the Clerk of the Court, was arrested by Jackson County sheriff’s deputies on a warrant on March 13 and was transported to the Jackson County Jail.

According to FDLE agents, Dunaway devised a scheme in which she allegedly diverted traffic ticket payments for her personal use instead of entering the cash payments into the clerk’s system. Investigators said Dunaway reportedly used the money for daily living expenses and to pay bills.

The scheme was discovered in September 2007 when officials in the Palm Beach County Clerk’s office researched a discrepancy between their computer records and state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) records. An ensuing investigation alleged that Dunaway had misappropriated funds used to pay traffic fines between April and September 2007.

In the scheme, people paying the traffic tickets were not given an official receipt. Instead, Dunaway allegedly would hit “print screen” before entering the cash payment into the computer system and would give that document to the payee as a receipt. She then allegedly would clear the computer screen and not enter the cash transaction. About 100 people are believed to have been affected by the scheme.

Agents alleged that Dunaway also would falsify computer records in the computer system to show that a judge had waived all the fines, making it so the computer system would not expect a payment on the traffic violation. To do so, agents said Dunaway allegedly had to enter false information into the state’s DHSMV system and the county clerk’s system.

In about a dozen instances, Dunaway’s actions reportedly caused some drivers to have suspended driver’s licenses when the information was not entered into the state’s DHSMV system, according to investigators. When the mistake was uncovered, Dunaway allegedly would go into the computer system and clear the suspension by altering records.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call FDLE’s Palm Beach Field Office at (561) 640-2840.

For more information, contact:

Resident Agent in Charge Mike Driscoll
FDLE (561) 640-2840

Paige Patterson-Hughes
Public Information Officer
FDLE - Miami
(954) 958-5400