Former Columbia County records supervisor arrested in multi-year fraud scheme

For Immediate Release
July 15, 2022

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Fla. – FDLE arrested Katrina M. Vercher, 60, of Lake City, on one felony count of scheme to defraud and three felony counts of official misconduct.

In June 2021, the Columbia County Clerk of Courts identified discrepancies associated with tax deed sales and requested a criminal investigation. Vercher previously worked as a records supervisor for the Clerk of Courts.

Agents audited past tax deed sales in Columbia County and identified 46 transactions where Vercher either altered tax deed records by recording a reduced sale price or by reducing the fees associated with the tax deed sale. In almost every occurrence, the discrepancy correlated with the amount of cash collected by Vercher from the winning bidder of the corresponding tax deed sale as a deposit.

The investigation revealed numerous cash deposits made into Vercher’s personal bank account occurring either on the same day or the day after tax deeds sold that were determined to have a discrepancy. Agents also identified multiple instances where Vercher appeared to physically alter tax deed documents to disguise the price discrepancies.

Investigators say Vercher defrauded Columbia County of approximately $27,600 in total.

Columbia County Clerk of Courts and Comptroller James M. Swisher, Jr., said, “The Columbia County Clerk’s Office remains committed to the highest standard of integrity and public trust, and this unfortunate situation does not represent the character or values of this office. I wish to thank the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Pinellas County Division of Inspector General’s Office and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office for the thorough and professional investigation over the past 13 months. If anyone has specific questions or concerns about their tax deed purchase I would encourage them to contact the Clerk’s Office.”

Vercher was booked into the Columbia County Jail last night on $55,000 bond. The case will be prosecuted by the State Attorney’s Office, Eighth Judicial Circuit.

For Further Information Contact:
FDLE Office of Public Information
(850) 410-7001

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FDLE is composed of five areas: Executive Direction and Business Support, Criminal Investigations and Forensic Science, Criminal Justice Information, Criminal Justice Professionalism and Florida Capitol Police. FDLE’s duties, responsibilities and procedures are mandated through Chapter 943, FS, and Chapter 11, FAC. To learn more about these areas, read our Statement of Agency Organization and Operation or visit our Open Government page.