A Payson woman faces additional charges after reportedly using a fraudulent check to pay restitution to four businesses she took money from in the past.
Sherri Lynn Dashney, 38, is already serving time for taking thousands of dollars from local businesses, where she was employed as a bookkeeper. She could face additional time if convicted of using stolen money to acquire a $5,000 cashier’s check to pay part of the restitution she owes.
Dashney pled not guilty to the new charges of fraudulent schemes, theft and forgery. A case management conference before Gila County Judge Gary Scales is scheduled for Nov. 7 in Globe.
On Nov. 29, 2010, Dashney pled guilty to two counts of theft and two counts of fraudulent schemes, reportedly taking at least $20,000 from Anderson Collision, $16,000 from Western Village, $1,600 from Green Scene Solar, $2,500 from D.D. Haught/Goat Creek Mining Co. and $1,300 from Corral West.
On Monday, Dashney appeared before Superior Court Judge Peter Cahill in Payson.
Cahill initially sentenced Dashney to four jail terms, served consecutively, after she pled guilty.
Recently, the Arizona Court of Appeals said that Cahill’s Feb. 14 ruling to send Dashney to jail and then serve years of probation needed revision.
The appeals board ruled Dashney could not serve jail terms one after the other because of a requirement that jail terms, given as a condition of probation, be served during that period of probation.
That means Dashney will serve some time in jail, be released for probation, serve more time in jail, be released for probation and so on until all time is served.
Cahill said he didn’t like the ruling and would have liked to group jail and probation terms together.
Part of her initial sentence also included a requirement that Dashney pay $5,000 immediately, which would be divided up among the four businesses (Corral West went out of business several years ago).
Dashney presented a cashier’s check to the clerk of the superior court on Feb. 14 as part of her restitution agreement.
Later, the Payson Police Department discovered Dashney used fraudulent checks to get that cashier’s check from a credit union in Maricopa County.
The credit union has since requested the $5,000 check back, however, Cahill ordered the money be “promptly distributed to the victims.”
“Mr. (Michael) Bernays (Dashney’s attorney) advises defendant believes money should go to the victims,” according to court documents. “Check was drawn in Maricopa County and the matter should be dealt with there.”
As the court works through these new allegations of fraud, the four businesses affected by Dashney’s scheming are left wondering when they will receive the rest of their restitution.
Western Village first tipped police off in June 2009 when its manager discovered the business’ credit card had been used fraudulently and Dashney had written several large checks that had gone missing. Police found Dashney had written those checks to herself, signing the manager’s name. Western Village fired Dashney. Before she left, Dashney locked the business out of their accounting software and refused to provide the passwords.
In October 2009, Det. Mike McAnerny learned Dashney had also worked as a bookkeeper for Anderson Collision from October 2007 to June 2008. McAnerny found Dashney had written checks out to herself and taken cash deposits. Again, after she was fired, Dashney crashed the business’ accounting program.
When Dashney worked for Green Scene Solar for two weeks in September 2009, she took the company’s bank card and made several withdrawals, using some of the money to pay her car loan, according to a police report.
After Dashney was fired, Green Scene Solar was burglarized three times.
Finally, when McAnerny visited D.D. Haught, where Dashney had worked as a bookkeeper in 2006, he found Dashney had written several checks and deposited the money into her account. When she left the company, she crashed the accounting software, making it difficult to track all of her transgressions.
In a pre-sentencing report, Dashney said the underlying reason behind her deviant behavior was to pay personal bills.
However, a probation officer wrote Dashney's conduct “in these offenses equates to one who is a predator, on a quest to oppress, and cause potential harm to any unsuspecting employer.”
“It is further noteworthy that defendant’s premeditated behavior to crash the business’ financial records upon her departure would seem to be a further manifestation with regard to her calculated financial manipulation of the victims’ business.”
In a letter to the court, Dashney said she was remorseful for her actions and wanted to rebuild her life.
“I have been able to evaluate my life and realized that I took it for granted,” she wrote. “I know what I did was wrong and caused great pain for my family and victims.”